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"What is your current salary?" - thinking about this questio

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"What is your current salary?" - thinking about th

Postby Sergei82 » Thu, 21 Mar 2013 9:58 am

I know this was discussed before, but from different perspective, I guess.

Well, I'm regularly receiving calls from different recruiters and this question is always asked. So I am thinking: what is the logic of asking such a question? So far I fail to understand it...

Before Singapore I worked in countries where disclosing your current salary was forbidden by your contractual/employment agreement. This is internal company matter that is of nobody else's concern. When somebody needed to hire someone, they post the JD and either 1) provide the budget for the position figure, or 2) ask the candidate "how much do you want to earn?". Seems logical so far.

Now how about: "What is your current salary?"
Who in the hell will be interested to disclose his current salary and put himself in the weakest position when it comes to salary negotiations?
How in the hell you can nominally compare salary in contry A with salary in country B?
How in the hell will I know how the company I'm applying to is valuing the qualities they need if I already disclosed my salary?
Why in the hell there should even be any salary negotiations if they already eliminated the need for it by asking me for my salary?
If you want a smart guy to work in your company, why in the hell you're looking for an idiot by default who will disclose his current salary?
If you need a talent, then why in the hell you are afraid to overpay: you got your budget anyway!?
If I am working now and in a good standing in my company, why in the hell would I change it for standard 15-20% market raise?
What a hell?
I can continue...

The only logic I see is it is very convenient for the employer. No headache. Bastards!

Just sharing my thoughts, haven't got used to it yet living in Singapore for the last 3.5 years. :)

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Postby nakatago » Thu, 21 Mar 2013 10:01 am

It's so they can offer you just the bare minimum for what they think you'll jump ship. They'll pay you based on what they can get away with instead of what you're worth.

I remember in an interview I was told that "that's very good money compared to what you'll make in country B."

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Postby Sergei82 » Thu, 21 Mar 2013 10:11 am

So how to politely refuse to give up the number?
Or if we do so, nobody will hire us? :)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 21 Mar 2013 12:14 pm

No, only those that wouldn't be worth joining in the first place wouldn't hire you.

The attitude starts from the top here. The Ministers are always saying about foreign workers how the money they earn here is much more than in the workers home country. As if that should make a damn. Meritocracy? Bullsh*t! It's not meritocracy when your salary is pegged to a country you are not even in rather than the job and expertise you bring with you. Meritocracy is a joke here.

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Postby Wd40 » Thu, 21 Mar 2013 12:55 pm

The job market in Singapore is like the first filter is the salary. They ask you your current salary because if they know that your current salary is already higher than their budget, then there is no further scope for discussion.

If your current salary is peanuts then the recruiters eyes light up in joy :)

Also the worst b*st*rd recruiters are those that are vendors that are recruiting people to take on their own payroll. Here their main agenda is to get candidates who will ask the lowest salary so that they keep their fat margins. You know the vendors I am talking about in banking; one is C**t*l and another Op**m*m. Also these vendors have strong links in India and their 1st priority is to get guys from India, for obvious reasons, than to recruit from Singapore

I and my colleague who are both looking for a job change were discussing this the other day.

I told my colleague in a joking manner. They shortlist candidates to be sent to the client in the asending order of salary :lol:

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Postby Sergei82 » Thu, 21 Mar 2013 1:34 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:It's not meritocracy when your salary is pegged to a country you are not even in rather than the job and expertise you bring with you. Meritocracy is a joke here.

And when your salary is pegged to the company I you're currently in - is it meritocracy? Then simply my current company can keep my salary same for years knowing that if I change job, I will anyway get a standard raise... the one that I will probably (!) get in my corrent job if I wait a bit longer.

Wd40 wrote:The job market in Singapore is like the first filter is the salary. They ask you your current salary because if they know that your current salary is already higher than their budget, then there is no further scope for discussion.

Excuse me, I want to know how much are they willing to pay for what they are looking for before I even bother to think about changing job. I want to be the filter, it is in my own interest. Why in the hell such a demand that I should disclose my salary... followed by a huge load of verbal diarrhea - sublogical reasoning why it is in my own interest (???) to do that.

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Postby ecureilx » Thu, 21 Mar 2013 2:11 pm

To add to what SMS says, when i get the question, I add a 50% on top of what I get as 'allowances and benefits .. ' and if they still talk .. then I politely tell the recruiter to get the client to see my resume first, and if I am worth and fit the bill, you make an offer ..

and 1 or 2 times out of 10 times it works, the offer I get and get talking is fair ..

Well, the key is, I am not looking actively, so I can wait to see what comes before deciding, vs being unemployed and desperate ..

BTW, with the tightened crunch in the job market, many agents have stopped offering terms like "we will offer you 10% over your current .. " and now moving to 'how much is your expectation ..' of course I am not one of those hotly head-hunted ..

oh, recently a relative of mine, was getting a job here, through her marriage, and her salary back home was pretty high ..

When she told her current take home the recruiter had been pretty silent and had asked in a nicer way if she is ok to work for half the current, as the local market rates are lower for the job she was offered .. she was wondering when they had no intention to match my pay, why ask ... my answer was the same as others 'if you, by chance, had declared a lower pay, they could have taken you cheaper and happily so .... you dashed that thought by telling them and proving your current is way over what is the pay bracket here .. '

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Postby Sergei82 » Thu, 21 Mar 2013 2:21 pm

So it is a question of who wants more: the candidate to change/find the job or the company to hire the candidate. "How much do you earn?" == company may save money, "How much will you pay?" == candidate can get a better gain.
So if I am already employed, why those recruters are still ripping their asses apart to get my salary out of me? Even after I told them how much do I want to get if I change the job. Assholes!

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Postby Sergei82 » Thu, 21 Mar 2013 4:33 pm

Wd40 wrote:C**t*l and another Op**m*m

Actually I was told by one of VPs that keeping most of the staff as contractors on vendor's payroll is cheaper than offering permanent positions. So that is another piece that I don't understand the logic behind it.

So it is probably like this: it is better instead of higher salary, bonuses, annual salary increments and benefits to please the guy who is doing job for you, give away SGD a few K per month to the vendor as commission and have a ready supply of fresh "meat" to the bank? Nominally that can be the same cost for the company per employee. Why 2nd choice is so much more attractive? :)

Btw, one of our directors have regular family parties and outings with Op**m*m's management. That tells something on its own...

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Postby ecureilx » Thu, 21 Mar 2013 4:38 pm

Sergei82 wrote:So it is a question of who wants more: the candidate to change/find the job or the company to hire the candidate. "How much do you earn?" == company may save money, "How much will you pay?" == candidate can get a better gain.
So if I am already employed, why those recruters are still ripping their asses apart to get my salary out of me? Even after I told them how much do I want to get if I change the job. Assholes!


I am sure the 'recruiter' on this board will agree, when I say that, most recruiters do everything to send candidates to clients, and hope one of them fit the bill, so they can make their placement fee :D

Well, few years ago, I was asked to attend a face to face inteview, even though I told the recruiter that I meet about 50 % of the JD - and not very comfortable. I was given a lot of confidence boosting talk and I went anyway, and 10 minutes into the interview, I told the interviewer that I may not fit their requirement.

Then, about 6 months later, I was told by the same recruiter, to go for the same employer, and the agent told that it was for another dept.

And guess what, it was the same guy who interviewed me before who met me at the client end and before anything went further, I told him that I was told the role is different, and guess what - the interviewer still wanted to kill time talking to me - seems the recruiters job was to send candidates and the interviewers job at the client end too needed hm to intervew x number of clients, maybe to keep his job safe ..

And I told the interviewer that for the job description, for the kind of pay they propose, it will be very tough and he agreed.

And guess what, a few months later, the same recruiter, though a different agent now, asked me to go for the interview .. and insisted that the interviewer and all are different, though the meet up place was the same 'big IT' company - I said "thanks, but no thanks ... I am not going unless I know who I am meeting .. ' turned out it was going to be the same guy who met me twice ..

What else can I say ??

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Postby Sergei82 » Thu, 21 Mar 2013 4:55 pm

I just came up on my own with the solution to dilemma raised by myself before: why vendor payroll is more attractive to the bank than direct payroll?

Probably, in that way you can keep the contractor motivated by promising him conversion to permanent. Then, after and if you convert him/her in several years, you can use money used for commission to vendor before to pay benefits for the newly converted employee.
The employee is happy - he earns more, the company is happy - they kept the cost of the employee the same. And no need to do annual increments, each year employee gets just a little bit more demotivated, so can skip a few years doing salary increments - not a big deal.
That way it is possible to keep the same cost of employee for 5-6 years in a row, while getting more and more out of him while he's gaining more experience (2-3 years - contract, 2-3 years - after initial conversion).

And indeeed, we have: employee is eligible for conversion if he's been with the bank for at least 3 years (can be more - I see people on contracts for 5-6 years here), then there is a table above some VP's desk - you can get promoted to AVP after at least another 3 years in the company. Cool. This probably implies that within 6 years cost of living stays the same or almost the same. :)

Correct me if I'm wrong...

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Postby zzm9980 » Thu, 21 Mar 2013 5:22 pm

At my company, the budget for a contractor vs for an employee come from different parts of the budget, so that's primarily why we like contractors.

If those poor guys in India knew how much we paid InfoSys and TCS for them they'd probably sh!t.

Anyway to your question sergei, just answer that you're under an NDA that specifically prohibits disclosing details about your salary. Then just tell them you can talk ballparks of your overall comp, give them inflated numbers, and take it from there. Some of the scummy recruiters will write you off, but you probably don't want to deal with them anyway.

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Postby Wd40 » Thu, 21 Mar 2013 5:26 pm

I notice one thing. Foreign banks have vendor payroll whereas as local banks and other local companies have direct contract(no employee benefits and bonus etc).

I like the direct contract concept because there is no middle man involved to steal the commission. Also vendor payroll is always lower salary compared to permanent role whereas as direct contract is almost always higher salary than permanent role.

Why do foreign banks not have direct contract???

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Postby Wd40 » Thu, 21 Mar 2013 5:31 pm

zzm9980 wrote:At my company, the budget for a contractor vs for an employee come from different parts of the budget, so that's primarily why we like contractors.

If those poor guys in India knew how much we paid InfoSys and TCS for them they'd probably sh!t.

Anyway to your question sergei, just answer that you're under an NDA that specifically prohibits disclosing details about your salary. Then just tell them you can talk ballparks of your overall comp, give them inflated numbers, and take it from there. Some of the scummy recruiters will write you off, but you probably don't want to deal with them anyway.


I know how much is paid to the vendors. My colleague who is on vendor payroll was accidently copied on a email exchange that included the per day billing rate of the same colleague.

My colleague gets paid $5600 a month and the per day billing rate applied across the working days of a month came out to be about $10,000 :o :o :o

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Postby Sergei82 » Thu, 21 Mar 2013 5:49 pm

Wd40 wrote:My colleague gets paid $5600 a month and the per day billing rate applied across the working days of a month came out to be about $10,000 :o :o :o

Doubt that. Who will like to feed vendors that much for nothing? Its not the vendors doing work in the bank, isn't it?


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