I have been going through the hiring process with a company in the banking industry (in the UK).

As part of the process HR are asking for my compensation history - base salary, bonus & other cash and non-cash benefits.

I have never been asked to fill in a form like this before (in over 20 years of work) - in particular before any offer had been made. I've been asked by recruiters how much I am currently making (which I still usually don't divulge), but not giving a number had never been a problem before.

I pushed back and was told that HR need this for their due diligence and that they need the information as they are responsible for generating offers and ensuring internal alignment.

It was made clear to me that if I am uncomfortable with giving out this information, they will not proceed.

Basically my options are to give them the information, or give up on the job.

I briefly spoke with an employment lawyer that I know who gave me some basic advice (unpaid) - there is no legal basis to request this information and I cannot be required to give it out (at the same time, if I do not wish to give the information, there is no legal requirement for them to proceed).

Why would they require such detailed information? How common is this?

  • A lot of agencies and hr try this on - just say you have a NDA which most standard contracts do these days. Sep 18, 2019 at 19:57
  • 1
    NDAs don't usually cover salaries.
    – Wonderer
    Sep 18, 2019 at 20:07
  • "they need the information as they are responsible for generating offers and ensuring internal alignment" so they should just propose you their standard offer without caring about your salary history. Sep 19, 2019 at 7:40

2 Answers 2


You asked two questions, but unfortunately they're both hard or unsatisfying to answer. First:

Why would they require such detailed information?

It's hard to know why they would require that information, because reasons may vary. The most predictable reason is so that they can see if their salary range for this position is in line with your history. If you were recently making $100k, and they are only budgeted for $60k, that's a problem. Similarly, if you were recently making $60k, and they are budgeted for $100k, they may start to wonder if you were underpaid because you're not actually any good. And in either situation, knowing what you used to make can help them judge what to offer you now.

The cynical way to summarize that is: they don't want to "waste" money giving you a high salary if your history shows that you have been making much less.

How common is this?

This is less answerable, because it varies significantly by industry and location. In some cases, it's taken for granted as part of the normal hiring process, and telling people your last salary is essentially a requirement. In other cases, it's actually illegal to ask a candidate what their salary history was. It sounds like you've already spoken to a lawyer, so hopefully the advice he gave you was applicable to your situation.

  • Your argument is the one that hr would use not sure this is going to help the OP Sep 18, 2019 at 19:56
  • @Neuromancer - Sorry, I don't understand your comment. I directly quoted and answered the OP's two questions. If you have suggestions for improvements to my answer, let me know. If you have a different answer, you should post it as such.
    – dwizum
    Sep 18, 2019 at 20:04

Lie. In the USA the employer can not release your salary. Tell them something realistic and they should top it.

  • USA advice is irrelevant here because question is explicitly tagged united-kingdom. See How to Answer
    – gnat
    Sep 19, 2019 at 12:32
  • @gnat It's not irrelevant. He's simply using his U.S. experience to help someone from the UK.
    – Jim G.
    Sep 19, 2019 at 18:30
  • Gnat. The employer should be paying based on the jobs worth and candidate abilities. Employer is seeking an unfair advantage in salary negotiation. This is not a cultural issue. I do not know UK law but I have to believe the candidate is protected by privacy laws.
    – Gregtheeg
    Sep 20, 2019 at 10:30

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