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Stop asking job applicants how much they earn, says women’s charity

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Firms should stop asking job applicants how much they earn to help close the gender pay gap, a charity has said.

Young Women’s Trust said asking the “salary question” meant women who were underpaid in their previous job were more likely to be underpaid in their next one and disadvantaged anyone moving to an area with a high cost of living.

The practice of asking candidates about previous pay has been banned in New York City and California. Young Women’s Trust said, other than in exceptional circumstances, UK organisations should follow suit.

Young Women’s Trust chief executive, Dr Carole Easton, said: “We have to break the cycle that traps women in low pay. Women often start work on a lower salary than men, move to a new job and are paid based on their previous wage, as opposed to what they or the role are worth – so they continue to be paid less.

“Ending this practice is crucial to ending the gender pay gap.”

The charity’s analysis of Office for National Statistics (ONS) data found that women lose out on nearly £140bn a year in total due to the full-time gender pay gap.

It is calling for companies to publish salary details on job adverts, something that 48% of employers surveyed by Young Women’s Trust  said they’d be prepared to do to bring about gender equality in the workplace.

“Our research shows that women are more likely to disregard jobs if they felt their skills don’t match up to them, compared to men who often apply anyway,” said Easton.

“Including salary details in job adverts would help women to see that jobs are in fact at their level and give them an idea of where they should be negotiating from to progress their pay.”

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