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not revealing salary

#1 not revealing salary
30/09/2008 10:21

jon seeker

can't find the thread about not revealing a salary and using a P46 rather than P45, which is it?

I'm applying for jobs and want a 17% pay rise, which I estimate will compensate me for moving from final salary pension to money purchase, risk of moving, the need for a salary jump etc. Is this feasible? It's really just getting a promotion by job move.

What do I do at interview when they ask my package, just say I'm not prepared to say, that won't go down well, I can't see how to avoid the question.

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#2 RE: not revealing salary
30/09/2008 10:46

Mars A Day to jon seeker (#1)

When a company reaches offer stage they have invested billable time in you, and are - to some extent -already mapping out what and how you will bring value to their business, not to mention that human bonds are formed in interviews and if people like you will want you to join them. So save the demands until you have that offer, then leverage it. It is enough to tell them what you get, what you would be walking away from, and that you would need to compensate this, or else have a compelling reason to move. You have obviously thought this through, so no need to big up your current salary - just walk them through the rationale and see how the offer package is structured. Negotiate on the details -e.g. their scale may mean they cannot move enough on the base but could for example put more into the car allowance etc etc.

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#3 RE: not revealing salary
30/09/2008 10:55

anon to Mars A Day (#2)

I went to interview with a Big 4 recently.

First question they asked - "What is your current salary". They even had a form there in front of them and said "HR said we have to fill this out".

How would you deal with that situation?

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#4 RE: not revealing salary
30/09/2008 10:58

anon to anon (#3)

Also, I don't want to tell them "I'm currently on £30k but want £65k because my current job is an easy 9 to 5 and yours is a ball buster, even though the content of the work itself is identical". How do you fudge over this tricky situation?

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#5 RE: not revealing salary
30/09/2008 11:03

job seeker again to anon (#4)

thanks Mars, good advice as always, so I should be open and honest then, that sits better with me

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#6 RE: not revealing salary
30/09/2008 11:25

Paul to job seeker again (#5)

47263 or search for "tether"

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#7 RE: not revealing salary
30/09/2008 11:35

Mars A Day to anon (#3)

I'll just pick on the 2 points raised by Anon:

"What is your current salary".

Tell them. Just because you are on x this will not preclude an increase. Most companies are aware you will want one, unless you are moving to something very different. HR are functional in approach and do not have the final say on what an offer contains, although they may be consulted. If you are being told they 'have to fill this out' they are in no position of authority to start dictating anything. Be nice to them, don't bust their balls, and feel confident that they are too low down the food chain to dictate what you will get.

"Also, I don't want to tell them "I'm currently on £30k but ..."

Nothing to fudge. Don't specify a target if you can as this sets goal posts you may need/want to move as the meetings progress and you would price yourself out too low or too high. Simply tell them the new role is interesting but more demanding of your time, and you are looking forward to raising your game - but the offer from them has to reflect a similar commitment, and hence needs to be compelling. Again the devil is in the details - so look at the total value of the package not just the base.

1. In all instances it is worth remembering that the very fact you are in the interview is because they think you may be what they need: it's a 2 way street, and that includes the offer. Worst thing you can do is throw your toys out of the pram when you don't get the number you wanted. Negotiate.

2. Know your market worth - if you can get a 15% uplift with a competitor, keep that in mind. Use this information if you need to.

3. Speak softly but carry a big stick. This stick is declining the offer. Once they have made an offer they put their stick down, now pick yours up. You have the advantage so negotiate, but be prepared to compromise a little. If you want a 15% uplift and they offer 12% and it seems a stretch but they like you enough thats worth 3% just for the goodwill and the knowledge that once hard won they will be loathe to lose you - and will fight to keep you in the coming months.

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#8 RE: not revealing salary
30/09/2008 11:56

anon to Mars A Day (#7)

Thank you Mars, that is very helpful.

I have a further question, if I may:

Let's say I'm currently on £30k but want ooh £70k for the job I'm applying for because of increased inconvenience and longer hours etc. Assume I'm perfectly able to do the job because the content is the same as my current one and I'm grossly underpaid plus have shorter hours at present. Now, if I tell them I'm on £60k, I will get an offer and have an easy time because they will be assured that I know what I'm doing. However, if I tell them I'm on £30k, then despite being able to do the job, I probably won't get the offer becaue they think it will be a huge promotion for me or something, and even if I do, they will be monitoring my performance like a hawk and liable to lay me off at the drop of a hat if they think anything's going wrong - in other words, I won't have any "benefit of the doubt" if things don't go 100% rosy. How would you handle this situation?

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#9 RE: not revealing salary
30/09/2008 12:19

look to anon (#8)

If you're on 30k, you need to really be insisting on £500k. If you factor in the risks associated with moving.

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#10 RE: not revealing salary
30/09/2008 12:30

Get Real to Mars A Day (#2)

I'd be very interested to see if the poster actually got a bid increase in salary by following this approach. If you think you're underpaid then inflate your current salary to something which would be possible in your existing firm / sector. Everyone I know does this, including those who are interviewing. Hiring firms want to give you the least possible which will entice you to accept, you want as much as possible - neither party is looking to stitch the other up. It's all part of the game - let's be honest here.

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#11 RE: not revealing salary
30/09/2008 12:30

anon to look (#9)

People making assumptions like that is exactly why I want to avoid letting them know my current salary.

Just because I'm on £30K at present (for example), it doesn't mean I'm not in the 'league' of a £70K job. Maybe I have really short hours at present, hardly any stress, control over my own diary and zero travel, and work with colleagues I like rather than over-competitive a$$holes as are oh so common in MC. All of this suited me perfectly up until now, however I now need to lift my income up a bit for personal reasons and have to trade off some of these non-financial considerations for money. Unfortunately however, a lot of folk just don't seem able to fathom that non-financial matters such as these DO substantially affect the overall value of a compensation package and can only see as far as the £££ when working out how much a candidate's current job is worth.

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#12 RE: not revealing salary
30/09/2008 12:35

anon to anon (#11)

do they check your salary when you join, I understand from previous posts you can "loose" your P45 and use a P46 which doesn't state salary, could you get away with it?

Mars, welcome your view.

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#13 RE: not revealing salary
30/09/2008 12:35

hy to look (#9)

I don't agree that telling them you are on £30k automatically prohibits a much higher offer. I moved from £37k to £60k on the basis that had I stayed, I was a cert for promotion in 6 months, which would have taken me to around £45k, plus I was losing pension and other benefits. The first offer came in at £56k and I was able to negotiate from there.

Plus if you tell them you are on £60k, you won't have an easy time. You'll spend plenty of time in the first few months, if succesfull, worrying about getting found out!

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#14 RE: not revealing salary
30/09/2008 13:38

caught to deleted (#0)

I inflated my base figure by 50% and got a handsome payrise. But was asked to mandatorily submit my P45. Had to scramble around to explain the difference (some b/s about perks, expected payrise etc) but realised it was not worth it since they were paying me exactly what my predeccesor was getting anyways.

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#15 RE: not revealing salary
30/09/2008 13:53

anon to caught (#14)

did you give your old employer permission to disclose your old salary? if not, then a breach of the data protection act has taken place and has resulted in you suffering substantial damages...

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#16 RE: not revealing salary
30/09/2008 14:31

P46er to anon (#15)

But on this forum it has been said you don't need to submit a P45, you can say you lost it and get a P46, you then go on a tempory tax code and sort it out with R&C - is this correct?

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#17 RE: not revealing salary
30/09/2008 14:36

Cynic to P46er (#16)

Yeah, the P46 thing will hide your old salary.

The problem arises when some HR bureaucrat gets in a huff and insists that you get a duplicate P45 "because its easier", then kicks up a fuss when they spot an anomaly.

Or alternatively when your new employer phones your old manager to get a verbal reference, and the blabbermouth gives away a bit too much information about your current remuneration package (some people just don't know when to shut their gobs).

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#18 RE: not revealing salary
30/09/2008 17:08

Mars A Day to Cynic (#17)

1.You can pull the P45 trick but the key would be confidence - when 'some HR bureaucrat gets in a huff' brazen it out (who is the billing consultant here, you should ask yourself - who pays the salaries of HR?). HR won't push it hard enough to make a real nuisance - they don't have the authority themselves, the balls to risk driving a potential high value new hire from the firm, or the sponsor to protect them (when was the last time an HR Director carried REAL weight in any organistion? Never happened).

2. "Just because I'm on £30K at present (for example), it doesn't mean I'm not in the 'league' of a £70K job" -etc about a**holes etc. missing the point. YOUR priorties are not the same as theirs - if you feel human working hours, decent colleagues etc are what you have traded for a lower salary, and would be looking for a compensation because you see these are critical, SELL this confidently. If you se them as positive aspects which persuaded you to work for 30K when you are (market worth?) worth 70K then you need to demonstrate how you will cover the ground - it's no use just demanding it because you want it/deserve it. 'I'm on 30K, which I now know is way behind my market worth, but I balance this with work/life balance/whatever, but to move would want to catch up...' and expect a healthy offer but south of what you want. Going from 30K to 50K, and in the right ballpark for next move of promotion to spitting distance of 70 makes more sense.

3. References. Provided you have a good relationship with referees, tell them what you hope to achieve and get their buy in. If not, they will probably just confirm dates and title anyway, as they wont risk anything litigious.

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#19 RE: not revealing salary
30/09/2008 23:58

Derek to Mars A Day (#18)

jon seeker

There are quite a few threads on this topic - and I think they're worth a look.

A selection:





Good luck

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#20 RE: not revealing salary
01/10/2008 10:49

jon seeker to Derek (#19)

thank you all very much, very useful input.

ps. I meant to be called job seeker, I know where the jon is :-)

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#21 RE: not revealing salary
01/10/2008 11:08

FACTMAN to jon seeker (#20)

Calling yourself that was without a doubt a freudian slip. I am 100% sure of it.

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#22 RE: not revealing salary
01/10/2008 12:08

job seeker to FACTMAN (#21)

agent says company won't accept application without salary, end of story, I'm quite happy to argue the toss, at the end of the day I want what I want salary wise to move

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#23 RE: not revealing salary
01/10/2008 14:50

Taxman to job seeker (#22)

1. Agent is lying

2. Put salary in as circa X (including all taxable bens) and that will both consude and shut them up.

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#24 RE: not revealing salary
01/10/2008 15:02

Derek to Taxman (#23)

Broadly, I agree with Taxman.

In terms of salary negotiations, it is an advantage to the Company to know what you earn now. By instructing the agent to find out and record this information, they maintain their advantage at little or no cost to themselves and, as a possible side issue, start to set your expectations about how tough they might be re your future salary.

In my experience, most people will move jobs for a salary / package increase of ca. 10%. Once you've started looking for a job, the momentum builds and you realise you want to move on, so if a likely job comes up, you'll take it even if it pays less than you originally wanted. Companies use this "knowledge" to their advantage, knowing that only a rare candidate will play hardball.

I would be tempted to say something sneaky to the agent - "I'd like you to put £50,000 as my current salary". You are not saying that's true but telling them what you want that box to say.

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#25 RE: not revealing salary
01/10/2008 15:42

Mars A Day to Derek (#24)

Derek I have never met a client which was so Macchiavellian.

Candidate wants as much £ as they can get.

Client wants to pay within the scale they have benchmarked against their competitors.

It's really very simple.

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#26 RE: not revealing salary
01/10/2008 16:50

anon to Mars A Day (#25)

I wanna step by step guide to conning every last cent outta them!!!!!! Pls adviseeee!!

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#27 RE: not revealing salary
01/10/2008 17:27

Mars A Day to anon (#26)


1. Lie to recruiter and/or client inflating salary substantially.

2. Go through process defending the impression they have that you either don't come across as a £x candidate (damn that cheap suit!) or they know what peers get at your company because they interviewed one last week.

3. Accept offer from client which is lower than you wanted by still way beyond current (real) £x.

4. Lose P45, submit P46. HRM has read this forum, Sus but powerless. Looking for subtle clues that they are right.

5. Live in paranoia that you will be found out through reference/informal meeting somewhere/run into old boss/ex colleague who spills the beans.

6. Successfully hold off paranoid breakdown long enough to determine you need to cover tracks, so look for another job 1 - 2 years in for similar £ and think of BS reasons for parity move.

7. Congratulate yourself on 3 odd years of mental hell while seeing most of your gains swallowed in tax. Decide need to earn much more as wife/gf/whatever now used to better lifestyle and wants more of it. Lose P45. Repeat repeat.

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#28 RE: not revealing salary
01/10/2008 18:18

anon to Mars A Day (#27)

thx mars!!! now if we can work out a way to get rid of the paranoia bit that plan will be perfeccctttt!!!!!!

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#29 RE: not revealing salary
02/10/2008 00:22

Taxman to anon (#28)

Stay off the mushrooms, the paranoia will pass.

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#30 RE: not revealing salary
02/10/2008 08:07

anon to Taxman (#29)

c'mon there's gotta be a way surelyyyy!!!!!!!

basically I don't wanna tell the new HR my true old salary and want a guaranteed way of making sure they find out, surely this is possible!!?! it is personal data after all and should be up 2 me who i share it with!!!!!! and bullying me into giving that info ain't fair so if they put me in a situation of duress i think i am justified in tellin them whatever i want to!!!!!!!!

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#31 RE: not revealing salary
02/10/2008 08:07

anon to anon (#30)

***guaranteed way of makin sure they DON'T find out

everyone makes typos

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#32 RE: not revealing salary
02/10/2008 16:06

Derek to anon (#31)

Mars a Day

I agree with just about everything you say on this matter. I guess the difference is that I have tried a few different options with new companies and have had no success at all with obtaining significant increases from people who knew my salary (they were all fixated on the 10-12% increase range). On the other hand, joining a co to which I had (politely) refused to disclose my salary, was much more financially successful.

I realise my level of experience is limited to myself, whereas you see this every day. I conclude that some of us (me included) are less good at rebuffing employers' claims of rapid promotion and healthy future bonuses when fighting for pay rises.


To the best of my knowledge, no requirement exists for anyone to tell either a new or prospective employer how much they earn, nor of what their package consists.

However, a case went through the courts a few years ago which shows that if one does give a figure, it is not legal to falsify it. (I can't find a reference to the case on google but I remember it being reported in the broadsheets, so I'm reasonably confident it's not an urban myth.)

No company needs to know your current salary. If they are going to pay the market rate, then that is what you "should" get for the job offered - your current remuneration should not impact on this.

If forced to give a figure, I think I would say that I was not happy about disclosing the information but would give a ball-park figure rounded up to include my package and any other additions needed for the figure to represent something closer to my desired salary.

I would not lie to the agent or the company but nor would I submit anything in writing.

A P45 does not show salary details per se. It shows earnings, tax and NI paid in the tax year to date. Any over-payments reclaimed by your previous employer would not be shown nor would repayments of loans for travel etc. Similarly, any bonus would be included.

Having said that, it is probably wise to submit a P46 to any new employer. If you do not tell anyone your salary, the new company cannot ask anyone else for it. If they obtain it, it is unlikely they or your current co would wish to be challenged on how this personal information had been disclosed.

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#33 RE: not revealing salary
02/10/2008 16:39

job seeker to Derek (#32)

if i have a final salary pension, and I move to a company with a money purchase pension, all else being equal I need a 10% raise just to compensation for the inferior nature of this pension, I then need my 10% pay rise, and this makes no allowance for loss of long service benefits, risks for taking a new role in the economic downturn etc, so really why would I move for less than 22 - 25%, it is just not worth it, but who will give that sort of rise if i reveal salary?

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#34 RE: not revealing salary
02/10/2008 16:45

Mr S. Kint to job seeker (#33)

Likewise... I have a very low salary but am actually doing a fairly senior role (and have been for several years). I just work for a company that pays really badly but treats its staff really well (opposite to most other companies). Problem is, I have flexible working arrangements which are very valuable to me. I would require about a 50% jump in salary to move and go back to normal working arrangements, but everyone seems to work on a 10-12% basis like you mention.

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#35 RE: not revealing salary
02/10/2008 20:22

Tyre to jon seeker (#1)

1) Decide what you need to move

2) Decide whether this figure is "reasonable" - if you need to lie, likely it's because you know perfectly well your figure doesn't meet this criterion

3) Ask for this figure

4a) Agree figure and accept job

4b) Company declines figure and offers alternative (package to equivalent value, early salary review, etc.)

4c) Company rejects you out of hand

4d) Company declines figure, offers lower figure, you reject offer

5) Iterate until you find a job or until the redundancy pay runs out

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#36 RE: not revealing salary
03/10/2008 13:13

job seeker to Tyre (#35)

Mars, I will follow your advice - let's see what happens.

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