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Salary Story: Working With Friends Was Great, But I Changed Jobs To Get Space

Illustrated by Jessica Meyrick
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: 33
Location: London
Current industry and job title: Culture sector, lead producer
Current salary: £49,000
Number of years employed since school or university: 11
Starting salary: £19,000
Biggest salary jump: From £49,000 to £67,500 in 2024
Biggest salary drop: n/a
Biggest negotiation regret: I was once given a huge project to manage in addition to my existing workload. I was excited by the project and grateful for the opportunity as it catapulted my experience. At the same time I had been negotiating a promotion: I was offered a £4,000 pay rise and title change. I had asked for £40,000 but accepted £38,000. Once I started this project I realised they had planned to hire a project manager on a £60,000 salary to run the project before I accepted. I was furious and tried to negotiate retrospectively but was not in a strong position.
Best salary advice: Always aim higher than you’d be happy with when negotiating salary, as in the arts charity sector you will be negotiated down. It feels obvious but I see so many younger women in my sector accepting the lower end of the band, despite the huge value to charities that people bring.