Salary Story: I Got Tactical With My Salary & Now I Earn 93k

·4-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
Location: Birmingham
Current industry and job title: Senior programme manager, telecoms
Current salary: £93,500
Number of years employed since school or university: Seven

Starting salary and year: £27,000 in 2014
Biggest salary jump: £0 to £93,500 after regaining employment post-redundancy in 2021
Biggest salary drop: £85,000 to £0 in 2020

Biggest negotiation regret: When I moved jobs for the first time I told them my actual salary rather than market rate. They gave me a £10,000 increase on my base salary but that didn't factor in the overtime and expenses I had previously. Other people on my grade were earning more than £30,000 more than me too. I regret not researching market rate.

I learned from this with my following job moves and pushed for salaries fitting the responsibility.

Best salary advice: 1. Never enter your actual salary when they ask. Only ever enter market salary.

2. The benefit package matters, always look at the bigger picture. I changed jobs six weeks into a company as I was offered a higher paying role where I'd also get a much better maternity package. This was a £15,000 difference purely on maternity pay. Not to mention the better pension package (5% personal contribution, 10% company).

3. Companies do not always appreciate your worth until you have another offer in your hand. I know people that have stayed in the same company and have been promoted with tiny salary increases. Even those that have been promoted to a higher seniority (director level) aren't earning the same amount.

In my case I was able to reach higher salaries through promotions in job moves rather than in company promotions, negotiating my salary as I progressed and moved around.

I had previously completed a placement year at this company and was offered a graduate position on £27,000. As it was easier for me and made final year pretty stress-free, I decided to just go with it.
I had previously completed a placement year at this company and was offered a graduate position on £27,000. As it was easier for me and made final year pretty stress-free, I decided to just go with it.
I wanted to move from consultancy to industry and found a managerial position at a respected company as a business analyst on £37,000. It was also a promotion as I went from a consultant to a management position. I was very honest about my current salary and they offered me a £10,000 increase. I didn't realise the mistakes I made regarding my salary until I realised I was taking home less, however the benefit package was very good.
I wanted to move from consultancy to industry and found a managerial position at a respected company as a business analyst on £37,000. It was also a promotion as I went from a consultant to a management position. I was very honest about my current salary and they offered me a £10,000 increase. I didn't realise the mistakes I made regarding my salary until I realised I was taking home less, however the benefit package was very good.
Industry wasn't for me. I spent more time teaching those around me about industry best practice than learning anything. So I decided to go back to consultancy and move to London. A family friend was quite senior at a financial services consultancy and he referred me. Unfortunately he referred me for a consultant position which was a step down but I was able to negotiate the top salary band for a consultant (£55,000).
Industry wasn't for me. I spent more time teaching those around me about industry best practice than learning anything. So I decided to go back to consultancy and move to London. A family friend was quite senior at a financial services consultancy and he referred me. Unfortunately he referred me for a consultant position which was a step down but I was able to negotiate the top salary band for a consultant (£55,000).
I was promoted within my first nine months. I took over from a senior consultant on a high profile project and took on more responsibility than my predecessor. I was able to show my managerial skills and was promoted quickly. Thankfully when you're promoted the company pushes you into the next band, which meant a £10,000 increase for me.
I was promoted within my first nine months. I took over from a senior consultant on a high profile project and took on more responsibility than my predecessor. I was able to show my managerial skills and was promoted quickly. Thankfully when you're promoted the company pushes you into the next band, which meant a £10,000 increase for me.
I was pushing for a promotion at the last job and hitting a brick wall despite taking on a huge amount of responsibility. I was also getting married and my partner was based in the city my family lived in so we decided to settle in my hometown. So I was looking for a new job outside of London, where I wanted a promotion and a pay rise. I only accomplished this by saying I was on market rate for the position and being very clear on the salary band I was willing to accept. This was a long process, it took nine months of hard graft and almost taking a job at £70,000 rather than what I wanted.
I was pushing for a promotion at the last job and hitting a brick wall despite taking on a huge amount of responsibility. I was also getting married and my partner was based in the city my family lived in so we decided to settle in my hometown. So I was looking for a new job outside of London, where I wanted a promotion and a pay rise. I only accomplished this by saying I was on market rate for the position and being very clear on the salary band I was willing to accept. This was a long process, it took nine months of hard graft and almost taking a job at £70,000 rather than what I wanted.
Three months after I started my job, COVID hit. I felt safe in my position but I was wrong and in October 2020 I was made redundant. My salary went from £85,000 as a senior engagement manager to £0 and unemployed.<br><br>I was unemployed between October 2020 and February 2021. The worst part was the number of interviews each company wanted (up to five) and that as I was applying over Christmas and no one had taken leave that year, I had huge gaps between interviews.
Three months after I started my job, COVID hit. I felt safe in my position but I was wrong and in October 2020 I was made redundant. My salary went from £85,000 as a senior engagement manager to £0 and unemployed.

I was unemployed between October 2020 and February 2021. The worst part was the number of interviews each company wanted (up to five) and that as I was applying over Christmas and no one had taken leave that year, I had huge gaps between interviews.
In the end I received four job offers and even started a role (£90,000) for six weeks before leaving to accept a slightly better paid job with better benefits (£93,500). This was achieved by leveraging my job offers rather than previous salary, researching market rate and not rushing into the first job I was offered (I fully acknowledge my privilege here as I had savings to lean on).
In the end I received four job offers and even started a role (£90,000) for six weeks before leaving to accept a slightly better paid job with better benefits (£93,500). This was achieved by leveraging my job offers rather than previous salary, researching market rate and not rushing into the first job I was offered (I fully acknowledge my privilege here as I had savings to lean on).

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