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U of G professor says disclosure of salary ranges, AI won’t make much difference

FILE - The Ford government are proposing changes that will make companies disclose salary range and whether AI will be used during hiring process. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File ). MR

A professor at the University of Guelph isn’t convinced some of the changes the Ontario government is proposing would lead to better hiring practices, or make workplaces safer.

The province last week proposed new legislation that will force companies to disclose salary information on job postings, as well as whether artificial intelligence is being used during the hiring process.

Ontario’s Labour Minister David Piccini said having companies disclose salary ranges on job postings can help close the gender pay gap. But Nita Chhinzer, an associate professor in human resources at the Department of Management, feels it won’t make much of a difference.

“Making them disclose…is just holding them accountable,” said Chhinzer. “What your skills are determine where you fit in the (salary) structure.”

Chhinzer added women as well as visible minorities often negotiate for less — not as aggressively than white males do.

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“If you don’t offer an idea how much the job is worth, then there is a good chance you end up with inequities in employment.”

On the use of artificial intelligence in the hiring process, Chhinzer also thinks the legislation will not do much as most organizations, especially larger ones, already incorporate AI in their recruiting process.

“A more detailed description of what AI is searching for, or at what stage it is being used would be more useful,” said Chhinzer.

Chhinzer suggested the legislation will have a much greater impact on smaller businesses than large corporations.

“This is a great time for us to wake up and think about the parameters that we are setting up for small businesses,” Chhinzer said. “Using legislation to tell small businesses what the expectations are, is a great method for us to come up with a standard treatment of employees at work.”

The Ford government is also planning to introduce legislation that will see companies ban the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in cases involving sexual harassment, misconduct, or violence. Labour Minister David Piccini said that the government are going to be holding consultations on the matter.

“The consultations will identify legislative options to restrict the use of NDAs while protecting the rights of victims and survivors,” Piccini said.

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Chhinzer believes more effort should be made towards education and reform rather than imposing restrictions on non-disclosure agreements.

“We look at harassment more holistically,” said Chhinzer. “It’s not just ‘Oh, you’re an harasser’ and you get labelled and publicly (shamed). It’s about educating people, thinking about differences of opinion, and really reform on a societal level what’s going on.”

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