As a professional recruiter, I’ve spent decades matching candidates’ salary goals with employers’ salary budgets. In over four decades, I’ve never found it necessary to ask a candidate, “What were you paid at your last job?” That said, I think the salary history ban will be liberating to all concerned. No more will employers take the path of least resistance and simply pay people what they made in their last job.
A new hire should be paid commensurate with the job he/she is being hired to do going forward – not based on wages at a former or current job. The former job may have no relevance to the new role whatsoever.
Who better than the new employer knows the true value to the organization of the job that the new hire will be asked to perform? How can the former job and company be your guide for compensation for the new role?
Asking a potential new hire what he/she believes the new job should pay, after providing them with a full job description and insight into challenges and real expectations, should reveal to a future employer exactly what the candidate will expect in terms of compensation.
Unfulfilled expectations cause job dissatisfaction, low morale, and low productivity, so as much as is possible, matching salary to expectations is a preferred path to a successful hire.
Asking for salary expectations is just as good, if not better, in determining ideal compensation for a new hire. Prohibition on asking for salary history need not be an obstacle to successful hiring and appropriate, competitive, equitable compensation.