Appoint Africa and Truworths both infer that as there is no specific regulation explicitly stating that job adverts omitting pay are unfair, they will only be transparent about pay when specifically required to. This position of employer power is referred to as monopsony, firms want to pay workers as little as possible.
When they are not upfront about pay and suppress wage information from the public, how can be sure they are making fair offers when inequality is rising?
When recruiting for NGO, Help2Read, Appoint Africa claims to test applicant virtue and that this justifies adopting pay secrecy during recruitment. Along with Truworths, they appear to imply that preferred applicants are those who don’t work for money, but for personal validation.
Recruiters lack moral motivation
Norway study finds recruiters require consequences as they don’t do the right thing voluntarily.
PaySlipBanSA wants to raise awareness of the prejudice inherent in South African recruitment, skewing the labour market in favour of exploitative employers and instituting inequality. We maintain recruiters lack standards, both moral and professional; and that employers drive efforts to maintain unfair advantages. Globally, except in South Africa, recruitment and selection are viewed as examples of processes and practices that contribute to the production of inequality regimes.
Recruiters perpetuate prejudice
Research shows recruitment and selection practices are permeated by gender, ethnicity, age, and other stereotypes, and these stereotypes contribute to the persistence of inequality.
Studies on discrimination in recruitment and hiring (e.g. Beattie and Johnson 2012; Rooth 2010) have shown that recruiters’ attitudes and perceptions of stereotypes often operate at an unconscious level. Therefore, there can be a contradiction between the recruiter’s conscious ideas and assumptions of her/his own behavior as a recruiter and her/his actual unconscious practices.
Evidence from recruiters in South Africa, shows how they claim to use recruitment and selection as a mechanism to test virtue.
The Norwegian study shows that while legislation seemingly banishes acts of inequality, forms of discrimination such as sexism and racism, do not simply evaporate but require more specific regulations. If even Finland has a struggle to combat unequal labour market outcomes resulting from recruiter prejudice, imagine the change required in South Africa.
The study, ‘Informal Practices of Inequality in Recruitment in Finland,’ found evidence of recruiter consultants motivated more by self preservation than virtue. They obey the law primarily to prevent clients from making mistakes that could potentially cause problems.
The recruiters avoid inequality because they are obliged to do so by the law, not because they want to advance equality as such.
When recruiting a CEO for NGO help2read, pay secrecy was used in the job advert and during telephonic interviews. Applicants were asked pay expectation questions without being told what the NGO was offering.
help2read was contacted and when asked about their recruitment practice, deferred to Appoint Africa.
Dear Ms Hall
Your LinkedIn message has been forwarded to me for my attention and reply.
It is correct that help2read has advertised its MD position. In order to ensure a fair and objective process the organisation has enlisted external recruitment consultants to assist it with the appointment process. The advert that you refer to was placed by our consultants. We understand that there is no obligation on a Company to disclose in an advert the salary for a particular position. This does not amount to an attempt to exploit talent nor is it an unfair labour practice. You have our assurance that help2read is respectful of the dignity of all its stakeholders and employees. We are a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to the fight against poverty and poor educational achievement in South Africa, with a specific dedication to helping children from disadvantaged communities. In the context of our values and what we do your accusations are unfortunate and completely inaccurate.
In respect of this appointment help2read we wish to attract the best talent that we can but also a person that is committed to the principles we hold dear and not just after a hefty pay check. The issue of remuneration will be negotiated with the appropriate candidate and will depend on what the organisation can afford and the successful candidate’s expectations.
I trust that this clarifies our position.
Blessing Majome|Team Analyst
Office: +27 (0) 11 594 2758
Level Four B-BBEE Procurement Recognition
Re: your request for clarity on our job advertisements
Truworths chooses not to disclose salaries with advertisements for employment opportunities so as not to inadvertently and prematurely exclude good candidates from positions based purely on their salary expectations.
Truworths offers market-related salaries and remunerates fairly based on the requirements of a role, the candidate’s qualifications, skills and experience. Furthermore candidates are welcome to discuss their salary expectations during the interview process.
We find your social media posts to be unnecessarily hostile toward Truworths, particularly given that advertising employment opportunities without a salary range is not an unusual practice in South Africa.
Truworths will not hesitate to defend itself against defamatory statements, and reserves all its legal rights.
Divisional Director : Human Resources
1 Mostert Street, Cape Town, 8001
P.O. Box 600, Cape Town 8000, South Africa
For a third example of a recruiters response, click here to read People Solved Recruitment’s answer to ‘does income inequality exist because job applicants must trust recruiters?
Appoint Africa and help2read profoundly demonstrate the Norwegian attitude connected to prejudice and inequality, that if there’s no specific regulation enforcing transparency and information equality, neither a profit focused entity nor a not-for-profit is willing to be transparent about pay to reflect Constitutional fairness.
Truworths, reflecting flaky integrity, trade morals for mob mentality with ‘advertising employment opportunities without a salary range is not an unusual practice in South Africa‘. Their take appears to be
Back off! we’re in a cartel protected by the Competition Commission of South Africa! It’s fair when WE say it’s fair!
Here’s a wrap
Three examples from South Africa, Truworths, Appoint Africa / help2read and People Solved Recruitment show how they each adopt an unfair position of power. They assert unfair practices as fair and interpret legislation or lack there-of to advantage and assert their own interests – likely lowest possible wages for the best talent available.
The Norwegian study shows it’s possible to obey the law while at the same time reinforce informal practices of inequality in recruitment that enforce and sustain disparities between different social groups. We see evidence of this in South Africa where it’s acceptable practice for whites to be paid more than blacks.
The manner in which recruiters selectively interpret equality, inequality and key legislation is an example of an informal practice of inequality.
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T. Koivunen1 H. Ylöstalo, Katri Otonkorpi-Lehtoranta: Informal Practices of Inequality in Recruitment in Finland; Nordic journal of working life studies Volume 5 Number 3 September 2015