Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Noticed how wages have become Top Secret in South Africa? Our human rights and ability to access rational information are under siege.


How do you know your pay is fair if employers were not upfront about pay during recruitment?

When you negotiated wages with your employer, did you know how much they were willing to pay before you said what you were willing to work for?

Did you show your payslip without knowing how much they were willing to offer?

Information Advantages

In South Africa, information about wages is becoming increasingly difficult to find.

Job adverts don’t include pay ranges and when you attempt to research compensation, you are immediately confronted with a lack of information.

Pay secrecy means employers can use the process of recruitment to offer unfair wages.

Recruiters often acquire rival firm compensation information for prospecting employers without being upfront about wages themselves.

Competitor pay slips are used to unfairly poach talent and price-fix wages.

Our right to fair labour market competition is obstructed.

Employers don’t want to pay more than they believe they need to.

Payslips are used to verify what you agreed to work for in the past and use this to unfairly establish a basis for a future offer.

This goes against how recruitment and human resource practitioners are trained.

The human resources field has always maintained ‘price jobs not people’ to ensure fair labour practice.

Compensation packages are organised in bands according to roles and organisational preferences.

Organisations decide where a vacant position should fit within their compensation structure. They identify the applicable salary range and add the position to that band.

Perhaps the firm used to offer 13k to meet basic expectations and now wish to create a higher level role for 27k.

They can do so as long as their budget can accommodate the goal.

When the firm recruits for the role, they communicate specialized KPAs and a salary range. This achieves optimum quality applicants. Research shows adverts transparent about pay receive a larger pool of talent, especially women.

Pay Secrecy is for Unfair Pay

Employees often don’t know how their pay compares to other workers as the offer received was based on own expectations and salary history.

Pay secrecy means job applicants can’t be sure the offers they accepted were according to organisational policy or unfair negotiation advantages.

In the labour market, employer pay secrecy is used at three specific points during recruitment to create advantages for themselves:

  • No pay information in job adverts means the market signal is inherently inefficient, creating barriers for applicants
  • Employers who are not transparent about pay, contact applicants to coerce pay history and current  pay expectations from them without disclosing the salary range for the position advertised;
  • Recruiters use payslips or ‘current cost to company’ information to poach talent from rival firms and price-fix talent.

These are just some of the behaviors identified that perpetuate and institutes inequality and a lack of justice in society and labour markets.

Please sign our petition for fair labour markets.

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