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What the New Salary History Ban Means For Your Career

On Wednesday, July 31st Governor Pritzker signed a bill that now makes it illegal for employers to ask for a job applicant’s salary history in the state of Illinois. Illinois is the latest state to adopt the “salary history ban” but most likely won’t be the last. There are now 17 total states in the U.S. that have adopted a similar law. In Illinois, this takes effect, Sept. 29th.

Here’s the 411:

Job applications can no longer ask you to fill out what you made in your previous positions. The idea is that companies will need to solely utilize a candidate’s skills, experience and qualifications to determine what salary they should receive.

Proponents say it can help close the wage gap and make sure women and men are paid more fairly. On the other hand,salary history is a key mechanism companies utilize in order to recruit employees and make compelling job offers.

The law officially goes into effect for all Illinois employees/employers on September 19, 2019. The city of Chicago has already adopted the law as of April 2018.

So what does this mean for me?

Candidates will need to be prepared for the salary discussion during the hiring process. The new law does not prohibit employers from asking about salary expectations, so candidates should know how to answer any salary expectation questions and have research-backed reasons as to why.

Utilize resources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Glassdoor and PayScale to get an understanding of average salaries in your field. Keep in mind that averages take into account all professionals in that field, and include a wide range of tenure. If you’re entry-level, it’s important to benchmark against other entry-level positions as that will give you the most accurate average salary. Glassdoor allows you to look at what specific roles pay, but keep in mind, it’s all self-reported data, so it could be skewed.

Check out our blog on how to do your salary homework for more tips!