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When Employers Can't Ask About Salary History
Is the disclosure of pay history an unfair part of the recruitment process?
A growing number of states in the US are passing laws preventing employers from asking candidates about their salary history. There are currently 20 bans in place across 17 states with that number looking to increase. With many trends in the US making their way to Australia, what would the impact be if Australian employers could no longer ask job applicants what they were paid in previous roles?
In July 2019 Lion Co became one of the first companies in Australia to ban questions about pay history during the recruitment process, in a bid to tackle the gender pay gap. The brewing company found that questions about salary history helped to sustain lower salaries for women.
For employers, the crux of the issue is: does it matter what a candidate was being paid previously and will it make a difference if this is not asked?
Jane Carey, CEO of Edge Recruitment says " Salaries are always a sensitive topic and many of our clients ask us for advice on pay rates for people in the property industry. All things being equal, a salary range for a role should be established up front. If someone has been paid significantly less in the past, why should that mean that they are not paid a fair market salary for a role going forward?"
Employers may be worried that recruiting without this information could increase their wage costs. Whilst this is an understandable concern, there are compelling benefits to implementing a ban of this nature. For example, paying more market accurate salaries should lead to greater employee satisfaction and improved retention rates, thus decreasing recruitment and training costs and improving overall performance and efficiency.
If a law like this passed in Australia:
- It would encourage employers to do more research on market salaries for relevant job roles when preparing to hire staff.
- It would result in more gender equal salaries and lessen the pay gap between men and women.
- It would encourage employers to apply a more merit-based approach to recruitment – focusing on a candidate’s skills, experience and value brought to the role.
Whilst employers wouldn’t be able to ask what a candidate earned in their last role or previous roles; they would still be able to ask what salary a candidate was looking for.
Understanding underpaid and higher paid salaries
If a candidate has been underpaid in previous roles, relying on historical salary information to set a salary may cause an employer to make inaccurate comparisons between them and other applicants. Relying on historical data to evaluate higher paid individuals may also unfairly skew employers' decisions. There may be credible reasons why a candidate has been paid more than others in the past, such as:
- Working in high paying geographical locations
- The rarity of their skill set
- A candidate shortage of that role at the time they were hired
In Australia, it is against the law to discriminate against job candidates based on age, gender, race or religion etc., but it is commonplace to ask questions about pay history during the recruitment process. Are we perpetuating an unfair system of pay? Would you welcome the change? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
How to Covertly Find a Job When You're already Employed
Your guide to job searching on the quiet and getting it done in half the time
It’s time consuming to scroll through job boards, prepare resumes, coordinate interviews and follow up phone calls and even more so when you’re employed full time. It’s also hard to keep your job search hidden from the people you work with. To help make your job search easier, we have provided 6 simple tips that will keep your job search secret and cut the time spent on this important task by half.
- Hide your profile updates on LinkedIn
Making changes to your LinkedIn profile can be a signal to your employer that you’re looking for a new job. Any profile updates you make will be broadcast to your network unless you turn off this notification in your settings. To keep any updates secret, go to ‘settings and privacy’, select the ‘privacy’ tab, then turn the ‘sharing profile edits’ button to ‘no’.
- Be picky
Put some thought into the type of role you want and the type of employer you’d like to work for and use this as a base to start your job search. Being selective about the types of jobs you apply for will not only cut down the time spent job hunting but will also increase your odds of winning those jobs that you apply for. When your skills and experience closely match the requirements of the job you’re applying for, you’ll have a higher likelihood of success. For example, there’s a low chance of success when applying for a senior property management role if you’re a sales administrator with no property management experience (unless you’re willing to undertake some training first).
- Use a recruiter
Many job seekers who choose the ‘do-it-yourself’ approach will spend hours trawling through job sites, applying for jobs online and cold calling employers to follow up. Smart job seekers know that using an industry specialist recruiter can greatly speed up the process of finding that ideal role. A specialist recruiter keeps their finger on the pulse of their industry and maintains close relationships with employers and industry peers, all whilst keeping your information confidential. They instantly know when vacancies become available and can recommend you for appropriate roles straight away (if you are right for the job of course). Spend a little time upfront preparing your resume and meeting with a recruiter to discuss your career goals and it will be well worth it.
- Keep it professional
Never use your work computer or work phone to make calls to recruiters or potential employers and certainly don’t look for a new job on work time. Using work resources to aid your personal job search shows a lack of respect for your current employer and can also send the wrong message to future employers. It also makes it much more likely that you’ll get caught.
- Schedule interviews outside work hours
Scheduling job interviews while you’re working full-time can be tricky. Try to schedule them before or after work or at lunch times to avoid having to make awkward excuses about your absence.
- Use appropriate referees
We often get asked by candidates which referees to use when they’re already employed. If you wish to keep your job searching secret, our advice is to use existing employers as referees, not your current boss or colleagues. However, if you have been in your current job for many years, existing referees may seem out of date. In this instance, it is appropriate to use clients as referees. Choose clients that you know well and have established a good relationship with. You will, of course, need to ask their permission first, explain the situation and ask them to keep your job search confidential.
Job hunting can be a stressful time, bringing up questions about your career path, financial security and the state of the job market in your industry. Being smart about how you spend your time and how you conduct yourself throughout your job search will improve your experience. If you’re looking for a job in 2020, we hope you’ll use this guide as handy reference.
Everything You Need to Know about Security Clearances
Have you ever applied for a job, but were told you need a police clearance or DCSI to be considered? Many organisations that hire property people require these checks for their permanent, contract and temporary employees, such as community housing organisations, state and local Government Departments, police departments and more. We provide the who, what, where, when and why of getting your security clearances in South Australia.
The two most common security checks needed for people working the in the property industry are National Police Checks and DCSI clearances. These clearances are requested for people working in sensitive areas such as:
- Aged Care Sector Employment;
- Disability Services Employment;
- General Employment Probity;
- Vulnerable Person Related Employment; and
- Working with Children.
National Police Check
The purpose of a National Police Check (Police Check) is to identify any possible risks an individual might pose to an organisation if employed there. Obtaining a police check involves providing personal information and identification in order to obtain a full criminal history background check and report. Police checks can be applied for through the SAPOL website and the process is straight forward. To request a check, you will need to prove your identity with at least 100 points of ID. The check is then processed, and a certificate is provided stating the outcome. Standard police checks cost about $45 and can take anywhere from 24 hours to 2 weeks to process.
A DCSI (Department for Communities and Social Inclusion) check is a more substantial background check and assesses additional information that would not be detected through a standard police check. DCSI clearances must be auspiced through the organisation you intend to work for, so when applying for a clearance you will be asked what organisation and role the clearance relates to. The only way to obtain a DCSI clearance independently is through a Centrelink provider or recruitment agency. Here at Edge, we have initiated the clearance process for many of our temps working for organisations in sensitive areas.
The good news is there are different types of DCSI clearances specific to each sector, so you won't need to apply and pay for a blanket clearance to cover them all. Simply apply and pay for the specific clearance/s relevant to your role, costing approximately $100 each. These include:
- working with children;
- working with the aged; and
- working with the disabled.
Once the organisation has initiated the process for you, the screening department sends an email with some online forms to fill out. This then gets sent off for screening and takes approximately 4-6 weeks to process.A DCSI clearance costs approximately $100 and is usually paid for by the individual.
Some final points to note
- Each organisation sets their own policies relating to clearances. For example, even if you have a recent police clearance for the purpose of volunteering at a school or club, you may need to get another police clearance stipulated by the organisation you are looking to join.
- If you think you may get a role in an area that requires a DCSI, it’s best to start the process early as some organisations require your clearance to be finalised before you start!
We hope this article answers any questions you may have about obtaining security checks in South Australia and provides a useful point of reference for future use. For further information about screening and background checks, visit the sa.gov.au website.
Why Temps Are Trending Right Now
In the past few months, we have observed an increase in the percentage of temps hired compared with permanent placements in our recruitment mix. We’ve also noticed an increase in temp to perm opportunities available in a range of private sector areas. So why are temps proving to be hot property right now? We explore the reasons for the trend and explain how job seekers can take advantage.
Which sectors are hiring temps?
- State and Local Government
Currently, we're busy recruiting temps into Government departments due to many projects that have been given government funding and are prioritized to go ahead. There has been an urgent need for experienced property administrators and project managers in key local and state government departments where there’s fully funded capital works projects working to tight timeframes.
- Community Housing
We continue to get a strong number of enquiries from the community housing sector looking for temps with property administration and tenancy management experience. Temps with their DCSI and police clearances ready to go are more likely to be placed in these roles than temps without these clearances.
- Property and Real Estate
Temp receptionists in all areas of property and real estate are also very popular at the moment. We receive several requests a week for last minute reception temps, usually for 2-3 days to cover sick leave or employees taking annual leave.
Top Reasons Temps Are Trending
Employers are waking up to the fact that hiring a temp is a much quicker way to fill a resources gap where there is an urgent need. It can take several weeks for many businesses to get through multiple interview rounds and hire a permanent employee, whereas a temp placement can be filled within days, sometimes hours.
- Testing the waters first
Some businesses with an urgent need for skilled people that require longer term or permanent resources are using the ‘try before you buy’ approach, meaning they prefer to test someone in the role before committing to a longer term employment contract. This is a smart solution for businesses that can’t afford to have gaps in their work flow.
- Future trend?
With the deadline for property managers to gain their property management registration approaching in late September, residential and commercial agencies may start to use temps with their property management registration to plug any gaps within their current team struggling to finish their registration on time. It will be interesting to see if this trend starts to occur at the end of the month.
Job seekers can benefit enormously from temporary roles, especially those who are unemployed, in between jobs or just looking for a change. We are well connected to the top employers in the property industry and in some cases, certain businesses use us exclusively to hire temporary and permanent staff.
We recommend that job seekers who wish to work in community housing and certain government departments should obtain a police check and look into undertaking a DCSI clearance. There are several versions of this clearance and the most requested by our clients is a ‘Working with Children’ clearance. In many organisations you can’t begin any form of work without having this in place. For further advice on this you can contact Mary-Jane or Stephanie at our office.
Who Are The Most In Demand People In Property?
With demand outweighing supply for certain roles in the property industry, quality candidates currently have the upper hand when it comes to recruitment. We explain the key reasons for this trend and explore how hiring managers can find top talent in a tight market.
RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY MANAGERS
With the new registration requirements for residential (and commercial) property managers coming into effect in late September, the availability of property management candidates available in the South Australian market is at an all time low. It's no secret that the registration requirements have exacerbated an existing shortage of quality, experienced candidates in this area, leaving many agencies struggling to grow and maintain their rent roles.
Despite these challenges, we believe that the introduction of licensing is a good move to continue to raise the level of professionalism in this sector.
Those property management candidates who have their licence and are job hunting are hot property right now. Our suggestion for employers looking for property management talent is to present a competitive and appealing package that is not just limited to salary. Are there good processes and procedures in place? Do you have a tidy rent role of quality tenants? Do you provide ongoing professional development and training? Can you provide flexible working arrangements? What other benefits can you offer? Highlight what is appealing and exceptional about working for your organisation and about the role.
Lease administrators who can manage the administrative process of putting together commercial and retail leases are hard to find in the Adelaide market. Whilst availability of candidates in this area has eased slightly as the year has progressed, pure lease administrators represent a gap in the market.
A major contributor to this low supply is the lack of companies who have head office property departments in Adelaide, as most commonly they are based in the eastern states. For example, a large retailer such as Gloria Jeans may have multiple sites in SA, but the property management and lease administration are run from capital cities in the eastern states.
In Adelaide, lease administration is most likely to be handled by commercial or retail property managers and often they are aided by administrative staff or a property assistant with some experience in lease administration. These factors make pure lease administrators hard to find in South Australia, and in turn cause people with these skills to be in high demand.
One suggestion for employers to get around this issue is to recruit commercial property management assistants with some leasing experience in their skill set.
Whether you’re in the residential, commercial or building and construction sectors, contract administrators need specialised skills, such as a thorough knowledge of contractual obligations required of project contractors. Local experience is also highly regarded, making it particularly hard for overseas candidates with transferrable skills to break in to this market.
More senior people with more than 5 years’ experience as a contract administrator or with experience in the commercial sector are doubly hard to find. With a lack of candidates in this area, if you’re a quality contract administrator with local experience, you are in an excellent position to win a great role at the moment.
Employers should consider that candidates are looking for market competitive salaries and a good pipeline of work. While salaries can be directly tied to the budget of an organisation, consideration should also be given to the potential opportunity cost of not having someone in the seat when it comes to winning work and completing projects.
Jane Carey, CEO at Edge Recruitment explains, "In active industries such as property, real estate and building and construction there are always going to be areas experiencing a shortage of quality candidates. Quite often there can be a reasonable volume of candidates applying for positions, but finding the quality of person with the right mix of skills and experience is the challenge.
When this is the case organisations may need to be creative and work harder to fill vacancies. Considering which skills or experience are actually critical as opposed to preferable, reducing the amount of prior experience required and providing more in-depth on the job training may be some solutions to contemplate".
These are the hardest-to-fill roles in the property industry currently and we expect this trend to continue for the remainder of 2019. We're hoping that property management candidates will become more available once the registration deadline of late September has passed. If you need advice on employment matters in the property industry in South Australia, don't hesitate to give us a call.