Coming into effect from September 1, Ingka Group, which operates 390 Ikea stores in 32 countries, will no longer ask for job candidates’ salary history as part of their interview process. The policy will soon apply to the vast majority of Ikea’s nearly 450 global stores. Neena Potenza, Ingka Group’s co-worker experience manager, notes that by stopping to ask the candidates’ previous salary, they can “avoid replicating pay gaps by previous employers.”
Ingka Group will base their salary offers on the job experience with compliance to the local legislation. The offer will be made independent of the worker’s age, gender identity, ethnicity, or other identity markers, and will be within a specified salary range.
Potenza told HR Dive, “Once wage gaps emerge, they follow women and people from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups into retirement. We want Ikea to be an exception to this. We believe that all people should be treated fairly and given equal opportunities, whatever their background or identity. Equal pay for work of equal value is a key part of our promise of equality to our co-workers.”
Ingka Group is not the first to ban salary history inquiries. According to Monster.com, a number of companies such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google have practiced the same policy. This growing movement aims to achieve workplace equity by not punishing employees who used to be underpaid. Most of the time, employers, knowing that a candidate is currently underpaid, would offer a bit more than their current pay level, confident that the applicant will accept. Yet, even then they may still be paid less than they are worth.
On this matter, James Bessen, Erich Denk, and James Kossuth in their Harvard Business Law article argued, “An employer voluntarily deciding to stop asking about salary history represents a deliberate, specific action that can help reduce pay inequity and, for first movers, serve as a brand boost to make the company a more attractive employer to women and minorities, showing that the employer is actually taking concrete steps to combat institutional discrimination.”