Salary Story: I Jumped My Salary By 80k In My 20s By Embracing Change

·5-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: 31
Location: London
Current industry and job title: Financial Services / HR
Current salary: £95,000
Number of years employed since school or university: 10

Starting salary: £13,500 in 2012
Biggest salary jump: £65,000 to £95,000
Biggest salary drop: Not happened

Biggest negotiation regret: Not being clearer about expectations on bonus when moving jobs. I was so focused on my base salary that when we discussed bonus I was talking about numbers in percentage terms and requested a bonus which was a percentage of my salary but the recruiter thought I was talking about an absolute number. When it came to bonus the company delivered on their part of the agreement but I was extremely disappointed.

It is easy when moving roles to get caught up in the offer itself and wanting to leave a good impression but that is the only real opportunity to negotiate and state what you want. Going forward I will always be explicit about my expectations.

Best salary advice: Do your research. If you want to negotiate a pay rise at work then go armed with the facts. Employers do not want to hear about your personal finances and the reasons why you need a pay rise – you should think about the role you are performing, what you have delivered and what you will deliver in the future. Make sure that you look at the external market and have some solid research on what the market is paying for your level of experience and role. It is costly for a business to replace you and if you are a good performer, reviewing your salary works out much better for your company in the medium to long run than having to replace you. It also puts it on their radar that you are wanting to be paid more, meaning if they can’t commit to anything immediately, they will want to do something when they have the opportunity to review.

I was also told that women use different language when trying to negotiate their salary, so if you are paid below the market and want to get a bigger jump without disclosing your current salary, when asked you should say "My salary expectations for the role are XYZ" rather than "I would like XYZ" or "I am currently on XYZ".

I struggled to find any roles straight from uni. I also didn’t have much focus as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. This was the first office role I was offered and I took it immediately. I had the option for paid overtime, which I took complete advantage of.
I struggled to find any roles straight from uni. I also didn’t have much focus as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. This was the first office role I was offered and I took it immediately. I had the option for paid overtime, which I took complete advantage of.
I wanted to relocate back to my home town so I left and went to a similar role in a different company. I managed to negotiate a salary increase because I had some experience and it is easier to negotiate when moving externally.
I wanted to relocate back to my home town so I left and went to a similar role in a different company. I managed to negotiate a salary increase because I had some experience and it is easier to negotiate when moving externally.
I was relocating to London and my company had its head office there. An internal role came up in HR which was completely different from what I was currently doing and I felt met my skill set much better. It was classed as a promotion as it was a level higher than my previous role and as I was moving to London I was able to get a larger increase.
I was relocating to London and my company had its head office there. An internal role came up in HR which was completely different from what I was currently doing and I felt met my skill set much better. It was classed as a promotion as it was a level higher than my previous role and as I was moving to London I was able to get a larger increase.
Things move very fast in financial services and companies are always expanding, merging with other firms and so on. The place I was working was acquired by a competitor so I moved to a new role and was given a salary increase when I started.<br><br>When faced with change or uncertainty at work, it can feel quite daunting or stressful but try and stick with it. It sounds like a cliché but it is good to embrace change. A lot of opportunities have come my way because I have been open to the changes at work and have had a positive attitude and put my hand up when there have been new things to take on.
Things move very fast in financial services and companies are always expanding, merging with other firms and so on. The place I was working was acquired by a competitor so I moved to a new role and was given a salary increase when I started.

When faced with change or uncertainty at work, it can feel quite daunting or stressful but try and stick with it. It sounds like a cliché but it is good to embrace change. A lot of opportunities have come my way because I have been open to the changes at work and have had a positive attitude and put my hand up when there have been new things to take on.
I have regularly requested salary reviews during my employment as when you are at a junior stage in your career, the rate at which you learn and how much you contribute increases dramatically. I was taking on more and more responsibility throughout my time at the company and each time I tried to negotiate a salary review (I wasn’t always successful!). As my role and responsibilities continued to change, I would keep an eye on the market and speak to my manager about my contribution. The main reason for the salary increase at this step was due to me taking on a role internationally and taking on a lot more responsibility as a result.
I have regularly requested salary reviews during my employment as when you are at a junior stage in your career, the rate at which you learn and how much you contribute increases dramatically. I was taking on more and more responsibility throughout my time at the company and each time I tried to negotiate a salary review (I wasn’t always successful!). As my role and responsibilities continued to change, I would keep an eye on the market and speak to my manager about my contribution. The main reason for the salary increase at this step was due to me taking on a role internationally and taking on a lot more responsibility as a result.
I moved externally and was focused on increasing my salary when I was thinking about priorities for changing roles. I needed a higher income because I had started living alone and bills had increased. When looking for a new role I always try to think about what my top priority and reasoning is for moving as it is always a risk moving externally, especially when you enjoy your current role. I had a figure in mind which I was prepared to move for and did not want to move for anything less, which meant the search took longer but I was able to get what I was looking for. Again, by doing some research and looking at the external job market and peers internally, I was able to get a sense of correct salary level vs the level I was performing at, which gave me confidence when negotiating my salary when I moved.
I moved externally and was focused on increasing my salary when I was thinking about priorities for changing roles. I needed a higher income because I had started living alone and bills had increased. When looking for a new role I always try to think about what my top priority and reasoning is for moving as it is always a risk moving externally, especially when you enjoy your current role. I had a figure in mind which I was prepared to move for and did not want to move for anything less, which meant the search took longer but I was able to get what I was looking for. Again, by doing some research and looking at the external job market and peers internally, I was able to get a sense of correct salary level vs the level I was performing at, which gave me confidence when negotiating my salary when I moved.

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