Ikea operator nixes salary history requests

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Dive Brief:

  • Ingka Group, which operates 390 Ikea stores in 32 countries, will no longer ask for job candidates’ previous salary as part of the interview process. The policy will apply to the vast majority of Ikea’s nearly 450 global stores
  • The policy went into effect Sept. 1. According to Neena Potenza, Ingka Group’s co-worker experience manager, it was adopted for three reasons: “First, it helps ensure fairness by offering a salary based on a job’s value even if an applicant is currently underpaid. ​Second, providing equal pay for work of equal value prevents discrimination of underrepresented groups who far too often are paid less by employers. Third, no longer asking for a candidate’s previous salary means that Inkga Group … can avoid replicating pay gaps by previous employers.”
  • Ingka Group will base salary offers on job-specific experience, compliance with local legislation, existing collective bargaining requirements and an “objective assessment of co-worker’s competencies in relation to the position’s requirement,” Potenza told HR Dive. 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, Ingka Group stated.

Dive Insight:

In refusing to ask for candidates’ previous salary history, Ingka Group joins a growing movement aiming to achieve workplace equity by not punishing employees for past underpayment (or, in some cases, for the worker having a higher past salary than the company is willing to offer). 

In the U.S., many states have already attempted to address this problem with a variety of salary history bans; in some states, employers are barred from asking an employee’s salary history or from using salary history to set payment. Less stringent laws prevent employers from removing a candidate from the hiring process if they refuse to provide salary history. 

A number of companies have adopted the practice regardless of local legislation, including Amazon, Facebook and Google, according to Monster.com

“Once wage gaps emerge, they follow women and people from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups into retirement,” Potenza told HR Dive. “​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.” 


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