So many employers cap raises at a given percent, your earnings are forever crimped by your starting salary. Similarly, employers often want to know what you made at your last job. This widespread practice penalizes lots of people. But none more than woman and minorities, who may take lower wages to get their foot in the door.
A mere two states, California and Massachusetts, have barred employers from asking previous wages. But half the states are considering bills to prohibit that. Hawaii, you will notice, is not among them.
NPR did a story on this, interviewing a woman who was a teaching consultant in Fresno for four years before discovering that a new male hire with less education and experience was offered 20% more than she made. When she brought it up with HR, she was told her salary was based on her previous pay. As Aileen Rizo put it, I couldn't educate myself out of being paid less, I couldn't get more experience or be in the job market longer to break the cycle. She added, low wages will follow you wherever you go as long as someone keeps asking you how much you were paid.
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