Salary Stories: I Doubled My 50k Salary By Quitting A Permanent Role

Anonymous
·6-min read

In our series Salary Stories, women with long-term career experience open up about the most intimate details of their jobs: compensation. It’s an honest look at how real people navigate the complicated world of negotiating, raises, promotions and job loss, with the hope it will give young women more insight into how to advocate for themselves — and maybe take a few risks along the way.

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Age: 32
Current location: London
Current salary: £85,000
Number of years employed: 10
Starting salary: I temped for three months after uni as a very generic-sounding Operational Support Analyst. I was pro rata'd for £18,000 p/a.
Biggest salary jump: When I switched from permanent employment to contract in 2016, I went from £50,000 p/a to £450 a day, which more than doubled my take-home pay.
Biggest salary drop: I quit contracting for a permanent role in 2020 and went from £575 a day to £80,000 p/a.

Biggest salary negotiation regret: If I am being honest, I feel good about my negotiations so far in my career. I am acutely aware of my tendency to think I'm not worth what I am paid, so I constantly remind myself that it's less about my own perceived worth and more about the market. I'm always on Glassdoor, checking what people in my role and in my company are getting paid. I've also almost always been happy to walk away from a position/application if my salary expectation was not met, which is a HUGE privilege. With hindsight, I might have negotiated a little more early on in my career — my second job had me managing a team of five or six people, in London, in finance, for a little over 30k. But I was only 25 and it was worth it just for the learning curve.

Best salary advice: Do your research. It's so easy to see lots of job ads offering a certain salary band and assume that's the going rate. Glassdoor is an amazing tool for looking up what real people in real jobs earn. Also: ask around. Salary and money are obviously still big taboos (and I wouldn't advise talking pay if your employment contract prohibits it) but the more we open up about what we earn, the more equipped we all are when talking to our bosses about remuneration. One other piece of advice is: if you don't ask, you don't get. If you're offered a job at a specific salary, ALWAYS ask for more. The chances are they are trying to slice a little out of the budget by paying you a few grand less. The worst they can say is no and then you can still take the job if you want it.

In December 2010 I started at a company as a Junior Business Analyst for £22,000. I didn't negotiate this salary for this new role. Finding a job in 2010 as a fresh(ish) graduate was hard work. I took more or less the first place to offer me something.
In December 2010 I started at a company as a Junior Business Analyst for £22,000. I didn't negotiate this salary for this new role. Finding a job in 2010 as a fresh(ish) graduate was hard work. I took more or less the first place to offer me something.
In March 2011 I received a non-negotiated annual pay rise to £24,000, same in March 2012 to £26,000 and in March 2013 to £30,000, plus title change to Business Analyst.
In March 2011 I received a non-negotiated annual pay rise to £24,000, same in March 2012 to £26,000 and in March 2013 to £30,000, plus title change to Business Analyst.
I got a promotion in September 2013 to Lead Business Analyst when my boss went on maternity leave and I was offered her role. Initially I was not offered more money for this role, which I felt was unfair. I asked for an ambitious £40,000. When I was fobbed off, I looked for other roles and made no secret of it (not sure I'd advise this!). Eventually I was offered £37,000, which I was really pleased with.
I got a promotion in September 2013 to Lead Business Analyst when my boss went on maternity leave and I was offered her role. Initially I was not offered more money for this role, which I felt was unfair. I asked for an ambitious £40,000. When I was fobbed off, I looked for other roles and made no secret of it (not sure I'd advise this!). Eventually I was offered £37,000, which I was really pleased with.
In March 2014 I received a raise to £40,000 and in April 2014 another to £44,000. These two raises came after some personnel changes at my company. A few senior team members left and took with them a lot of business knowledge. In a panic, they offered a couple of us who'd been there a while fairly big raises, two months in a row. I left the month after.
In March 2014 I received a raise to £40,000 and in April 2014 another to £44,000. These two raises came after some personnel changes at my company. A few senior team members left and took with them a lot of business knowledge. In a panic, they offered a couple of us who'd been there a while fairly big raises, two months in a row. I left the month after.
Obviously not a huge jump here but I negotiated it in February 2014 when I was on £37,000. This salary was negotiated up from £40,000 after a really successful interview.
Obviously not a huge jump here but I negotiated it in February 2014 when I was on £37,000. This salary was negotiated up from £40,000 after a really successful interview.
This job move was because my previous role was not challenging and I wanted to go back to agency-side working. I negotiated this salary up from £49,000, haha. This was one of the rare roles I was keen not to pass up so I would have been fine with the advertised £49k.
This job move was because my previous role was not challenging and I wanted to go back to agency-side working. I negotiated this salary up from £49,000, haha. This was one of the rare roles I was keen not to pass up so I would have been fine with the advertised £49k.
This is the big increase. I had started to notice Business Analysts coming in on contracts and being paid a fair bit more than my salary so I did some research and asked around. One BA told me, "I don't know why a good BA in London would ever take a perm role" so I decided to get a slice of that pie. At the time, it was extremely easy to pick up contracts for roles like mine and so I took the plunge and, for the first time ever (or since), quit without having something lined up. It was terrifying. But it absolutely paid off: in March 2016 I started earning £450 per day. In May 2016 that went up to £475 per day. By September 2017 as a Product Manager I was earning £575 per day although this went down to £550 as a Product Manager in April 2019.
This is the big increase. I had started to notice Business Analysts coming in on contracts and being paid a fair bit more than my salary so I did some research and asked around. One BA told me, "I don't know why a good BA in London would ever take a perm role" so I decided to get a slice of that pie. At the time, it was extremely easy to pick up contracts for roles like mine and so I took the plunge and, for the first time ever (or since), quit without having something lined up. It was terrifying. But it absolutely paid off: in March 2016 I started earning £450 per day. In May 2016 that went up to £475 per day. By September 2017 as a Product Manager I was earning £575 per day although this went down to £550 as a Product Manager in April 2019.
April 2020 was maybe the weirdest ever time to start something new. Going back to permanent work had been in mind for a while since some stricter legislation for contractors (IR35) was due to come into effect in April and I'd heard rumours of companies placing a blanket ban on contractors. So I'd had feelers out for a while. I didn't negotiate this salary at all. It was already really generous.
April 2020 was maybe the weirdest ever time to start something new. Going back to permanent work had been in mind for a while since some stricter legislation for contractors (IR35) was due to come into effect in April and I'd heard rumours of companies placing a blanket ban on contractors. So I'd had feelers out for a while. I didn't negotiate this salary at all. It was already really generous.
Negotiation for this one was drawn out, which was a little awkward because the person who approached me for the role is a good friend. I was initially offered a contract at £500 a day, which would work out more than the salary I eventually got. But I was nervous about the uncertainty and wanted a permanent contract. Already having a job, I was in a good position and explained I couldn't switch jobs for a pay cut. Eventually we got to the salary I was looking for.<br><br>One thing that is a blessing and curse for me is that I am not passionate about what I do. I am not making a huge difference or helping anyone in need or working towards a worthy cause. So when it comes to work, I am really driven by money. Aside from when I started contracting, I have always been in a role while negotiating the salary for the next one. Since I will never leave a job for a cut in salary, it makes job decisions easy – either the prospective employer will make a better offer or they won't. I am aware this is a really big privilege.
Negotiation for this one was drawn out, which was a little awkward because the person who approached me for the role is a good friend. I was initially offered a contract at £500 a day, which would work out more than the salary I eventually got. But I was nervous about the uncertainty and wanted a permanent contract. Already having a job, I was in a good position and explained I couldn't switch jobs for a pay cut. Eventually we got to the salary I was looking for.

One thing that is a blessing and curse for me is that I am not passionate about what I do. I am not making a huge difference or helping anyone in need or working towards a worthy cause. So when it comes to work, I am really driven by money. Aside from when I started contracting, I have always been in a role while negotiating the salary for the next one. Since I will never leave a job for a cut in salary, it makes job decisions easy – either the prospective employer will make a better offer or they won't. I am aware this is a really big privilege.
2010: £22,000<br>2011: £24,000<br>2012: £26,000<br>2013: £37,000<br>2014: £45,000<br>2015: £50,000<br>2016: £450/day<br>2017: £575/day<br>2020: £80,000<br>2021: £85,000
2010: £22,000
2011: £24,000
2012: £26,000
2013: £37,000
2014: £45,000
2015: £50,000
2016: £450/day
2017: £575/day
2020: £80,000
2021: £85,000

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