The Manifesto Explained: Previous Salaries & Closing Dates

In 2020 we added two new points to our manifesto. This short blog explains why we have added these new points, and how you can easily adhere to them! You can also find more information on our Resources page about these, and many other, topics.

“You must not ask for previous or current salaries”

We have added this new point, as asking for previous, and current salaries is known to perpetuate pay gaps, especially for Black candidates, and for women. In short, those who are currently underpaid, will continue to be underpaid if salary history is use to determine pay. Salary history requirements also strongly disadvantage those moving to an area with a high cost of living – e.g. if you currently work in Northumberland but want to move to London, your current salary information will be devaluing.

We also know that many museum/heritage roles are chronically underpaid – asking for salary history will only continue this cycle.

It’s important to note that this new manifesto point goes hand in hand with our others relating to salary: salaries should always be disclosed in the job advert, and the salary being offered should be based on the skills and experience requirements for the job, never how much you think you can get away with paying.

So how can you adhere to this:

  • Employers: Just stop asking for this information. Take it off your forms. If you can’t do that, at least don’t make it mandatory. And absolutely don’t use it to determine the salary you offer.
  • Applicants: Don’t fill it in – if you see it on a form, leave it blank. If you can’t leave it blank, put 000. Free yourself from the obligation to provide this information.
“Job adverts must have a clearly stated closing date, which is, as far as possible, adhered to by the organisation. Vacancies should not close early due to volume of applications. If the closing date is extended, the extension and the reasons for it must be clearly communicated to existing applicants.”

A large regional museum recently posted a range of job ads with the caveat: “We may remove this advert prior to the closing date, if we have received high volume of applications. Please apply as soon as possible to avoid any disappointment.”

We think this is completely ridiculous, and likely to disadvantage many many potential applicants including:

  • Anyone currently working – may not have time to get their application in ASAP – especially true for shift workers
  • Anyone with responsibilities outside work e.g. caring – might not have free time to write an application
  • Anyone who needs support to write their application – cannot guarantee availability of the support person ASAP
  • Anyone with a learning difficulty that makes planning tasks more difficult – might need longer to complete the application, more time to interpret the requirements and structure an answer
  • Anyone who asks the employer for a different application format – will be at the whim of the employer to respond promptly with a format that works for them

We understand that many jobs in museums/heritage attract very large volumes of applications; we have all experienced numbers up to the 300s, but this is part of the process to manage. It is not number 301s fault that they couldn’t apply faster, and you could well be missing out on the best applicant for the job. The responsibility of the organisation is to manage the recruitment properly, and ensure a good amount of time is available to assess the applications.

Edited to add: To avoid confusion, we have edited the wording of this manifesto point to more clearly represent that shortening closing dates is the biggest bad practice issue. We have added a caveat that if a deadline is extended for any reason, it should be clearly communicated to the existing applicants.

So how can you adhere to this point:

  • Employers: Fix a reasonable closing date, and do not bring it forward. Build the potential need to shortlist a lot of applications into your planning for the recruitment process. If you need to extend the closing date for any reason, explain this to the existing applicants clearly and promptly.
  • Applicants: Tell us when you see this on job ads and we can challenge them! Also, feel able to challenge them about this practice yourself if you can!

As always, if you see practice that needs challenging – DM us on Twitter, or email and we’ll do our best to get changes made!

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