Jobseekers need to be prepared for this, as we are seeing it happen more and more. Is it illegal? We don’t think so, although there are certain rules around recruitment agencies deliberately advertising jobs at inflated salaries to attract candidates.
However, if an employer does it then there is little legal redress, you merely have a decision to make.
First of all, what is the reason for the reduced salary? Perhaps you do not have quite the experience they are looking for, or alternatively there are plenty of candidates around at a much lower salary level. The employer cannot bring themselves to quite pay the full rate when there are cheaper alternatives.
But perhaps the applicant has been out of work for some time. Perhaps the employer judges them to be in a vulnerable position.
For the jobseeker this is always a nuanced decision. You have to ask whether you would want to work for an employer who would do this to you. Though in reality it may be the HR or finance department demanding the reduction, not the person you are going to be reporting to.
It will also depend on whether you have any other alternatives. Because if you don’t, it is a choice between being paid and continuing to look for a new role.
A test I always suggest candidates use is “Would I have considered this had it been advertised at this salary originally?”
Because if the answer is that you would, then you are probably foolish not to consider it now. Business, after all, is all about negotiation and a deal is never done until contracts are issued. Although the economy is rebounding, you might be foolish not to consider such a role.
In reality it is always best to point out to the employer that you are disappointed but that you will accept. And you probably will have no compunction about continuing to look, in case the right thing comes along at the right money. And of course, in a year’s time when you have proven your worth to the organisation, you can then tackle your salary package and see if there is an opportunity to have it lifted to the level you think is correct.
One slightly frustrating aspect of this, naturally, is that the same HR departments who cleverly tried to undercut salaries where they can, are extremely careful not to be accused of discrimination. So it rarely happens where this is a possibility, and ironically many of the people missing out are middle-aged, white males. We wonder whether in the future this could become an issue.