‘Bench marking’ wages against competitor compensation and benefits can be in violation  of the Constitution and Competition Act. Employers are not entitled to rival organisations competitive remuneration details merely because they are recruiting.

Recruitment Purpose

Recruiters attract talent to vacancies.

Human resources is the academic field many recruiters are trained in. Their text books traditionally espouse the belief that you ‘price jobs, not people.’

Many case studies reinforce the value of pay transparency in job adverts, yet this is not adopted once graduates are in industry. ‘Do employers or shoddy human resources managers do the damage?!’

Look at the hurried, uninformative recruitment adverts that abound. Few make a concerted effort to ‘sell’ a vacancy against the backdrop belief that high unemployment means labour can compete for jobs, not that employers compete for workers.

Wage Recycling AKA Recruitment

A free market economy and democracy means workers in South African labour markets are entitled to self-determination.

They have a right to wages that are not:

  • pre-determined by former employment agreements
  • manipulated by ‘market rates’
  • price-fixed according to pay-slips

Secrecy Hurts

Pay secrecy in job adverts is generally regarded as a turn-off by job applicants, particularly women who, research finds, are discouraged from applying to uninformative and unfair adverts.

While employers assert a right to keep their salary range top secret, candidates are dropped from the process like hot potatoes if they refuse to surrender pay expectations and pay history information such as pay slips.

The Constitution enshrines fair labour practice. Employers operate unlawfully without fear of consequences.

Information exchanges during recruitment are not symbiotic, they don’t yield mutual satisfaction for both parties.

Applicants know they’re being cheated when they share information that didn’t stem from a counter share or result in one.

Show me yours first, that’s fair!

Leonie Hall, PaySlipBanSA Founder

Forcing wage information from applicants unravels their right to fair wage negotiation.

Employers are supposed to benchmark salaries prior to proceeding with recruitment measures, not use recruitment to conduct wage research.

Ever applied for a job and then felt as if you were simply part of a labour market scoping exercise?

I have! Appoint Africa, on behalf of an NGO, Help2Read approached me on Linkedin asking if I’d be willing to be interviewed for a position. I agreed and took a call.

Appoint Africa asked about my pay expectations without revealing the salary range on offer. I politely refused and was diplomatically strung along for a few weeks.

Turns out they don’t include pay as they believe only greedy applicants want to know how much they’ll be expected to work for!

So after being ‘headhunted’ I was never provided with feedback or invited to an interview. I believe the recruiter simply scoped my wage expectations and was never really interest in my skills and talent.

Leonie Hall, PaySlipBanSA Founder

Employers must be upfront first if wage negotiation is to be fair.

Applicants do not frame pay histories as obligations for new employers to live up to. This history only has relevance for the person who lived it, the applicant. It is up to the applicant to determine if their pay history is relevant to the new job context, it may not be. It’s certainly none of the new employer’s business!

Pay expectations are based on what an employer can offer, not on what a candidate believes they are entitled to – for this reason candidates should not divulge an expectation unless they already know what the employer is offering.

Using recruitment to extort rival firm compensation details obstructs a fair competition for talent in the market, as enshrined by the Constitution and Competition Act.

If prospective employers want to know how much rival employers pay, why don’t they pick up a phone, ask them directly?!

When firms use payslips to determine wages, they:

  • unfairly compete for talent
  • institute discrimination and inequality
  • use information unfairly obtained to breach applicant trust and price-fix pay.

Recruitment practices can be regulated and consequences instituted against those obstructing worker rights.

Studying Unfair Employer Behaviour

If you’re a job seeker, please help us document unfair treatment by forwarding recruiter emails requesting pay slips

We’re collecting evidence for court proceedings and to raise awareness.

All information is confidential, we never disclose our sources and are committed to making the job market better. We need your evidence to bring about fairness and justice. 

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