Industry Insights

Employers cannot insist job seekers declare last-drawn pay; 'practical approach' should be taken.

Posted on 4/12/2020 by Paula Formantes


There are no rules stating that job seekers must declare their last-drawn salaries, and employers cannot insist they do so. Instead, a “practical approach” should be taken on whether employers are allowed to ask for such information, as a candidate's last-drawn salary can help employers gauge his or her seniority or to make an appropriate job offer.

This practice affects the employability and salary packages of job applicants.

Employers who use last-drawn salaries to screen job seekers risk losing out on good candidates who are prepared to adjust their salary expectations, especially in current times.

It is similarly unwise for employers to overlook the longer track record of the applicant, and make an offer based solely on the last-drawn salary especially if the last-held position was an interim one.

If a job seeker chooses to provide salary information, employers should use it carefully.

Job seekers like fresh graduates might be wary of taking up a job that offers below the median pay, for fear that their future salaries will always fall behind if it is pegged to what they previously drew.

Authorities should look into the issue ahead of a post-COVID-19 environment while referencing the Paycheck Fairness Act passed by the US Congress in 2019 that addressed the conflict over putting down one’s salary in a job application.

The concern is whether some of these salary pay-slip practices by employers will lead to further negative externalities in the future, thus exacerbating unemployment numbers.

If a company bases the applicant’s “worth to the organization” solely on the last-drawn pay, then, look for another employer. This is not a company that you should spend too much on.

Do not spend too much time and waste your energy with these kinds of employers who cannot see beyond one number.

Whether the Government would study if the issue has contributed to the gender wage gap in Singapore because a study published in April studying California’s ban on salary declarations found that the new law narrowed the pay difference between men and women in the state.

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