Equal Pay Day 2021

Equal Pay Day is a national campaign led by Fawcett Society in the UK. It marks the day where women effectively on average, stop earning relative to men because of the gender pay gap.

The gender pay gap is the difference between the average pay of men and women within a particular group or population. Fawcett uses the mean, full-time, hourly gender pay gap for the UK to calculate the gender pay gap for Equal Pay Day which this year is 11.9%, an increase from 10.6% last year. 

As part of this year’s Equal Pay Day 2021 campaign, the Fawcett Society is calling on employers to take the #EndSalaryHistory pledge: stop asking new recruits how much they were paid in their previous jobs.

Asking for salary history is a recruitment practice that bakes in gender, race and disability inequality. It is self-perpetuating system that allows for biases. Rather than offering a salary based on skills, experience and performance, but on an individual perceived worth and negotiating skills.

#EndSalaryHistory is a grassroots campaign, started by Fawcett East London. It was sparked after conversations within the group highlighted the impact of the salary history question on women’s ability and confidence to negotiate better pay.

End Salary History - Equal Pay Day 2021 briefing 

Our latest research, published today, explores what people think about salary history: 

  • 61% women who have been asked about salary history say it damaged their confidence to negotiate for better pay
  • 58% of women said it made them feel like their low past salary was coming back to haunt them
  • Just a quarter (24%) of people feel that pay should be based on past salary, compared to 80% for their skill and responsibilities and 77% for the value of the work they do.

There is clear evidence to show that ending the recruitment practice works to tackle pay inequality - it is a simple, low-cost step that organisations can take to close their gender pay gap.

You can read the End Salary History: Equal Pay Day 2021 briefing here.

Why should employers stop asking salary history questions?

Employers can be a champion for equal pay by ending the practice of asking for salary history. It is a simple measure to implement and importantly, it works. Whilst it won’t end the gender pay gap on its own, it will make real difference to tackling pay inequality. Many employers don’t realise that by asking for someone’s salary history, they are perpetuating the gender pay gap.

Ending salary history in your organisation will:

  • Offer a simple way to demonstrate your commitment to equality to your employees
  • Make you a more attractive organisation to work for – research shows that women take the gender pay gap into account when considering applying
  • Provide a low- to no-cost, evidence-led way to improve your gender pay gap reports.

While some employers do use salary questions for other purposes, like benchmarking, research shows that they are an unreliable source of information because applicants are not always truthful in their responses.

The #EndSalaryHistory pledge

The #EndSalaryHistory pledge asks employers to commit to three simple things:

  • To not solicit current salary information from prospective employees in any manner including application forms, job interviews and portals.
  • To review all background and candidate screening software to ensure that they do not ask for previous salary information.
  • To seek to employ other methods to negotiate salary instead of depending on past salary information.

Head to the End Salary History pledge: https://www.endsalaryhistory.co.uk/

If you'd like more information on our Equal Pay Day campaign, contact Zaimal Azad, Senior Campaigns Officer.