Salary Story: Seeing Colleagues Made Redundant Helped Me Move On — Now I Make £25k More

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: 35
Location: Oxford
Current industry and job title: Project manager, life sciences industry
Current salary: £64,000
Number of years employed since school or university: Eight
Starting salary: £27,000 in 2015
Biggest salary jump: £39,520 to £64,000 in 2023
Biggest salary drop: Never had a drop
Biggest negotiation regret: Talking myself down when trying to negotiate my salary. When I asked for an additional £1,000 per year in my third job, I prefaced this by saying “I know I don’t have project management experience”. This was such a disservice to myself since I had a project management qualification and a lot of what I did within my last role was project management, as I had been clear about in my interview. Perhaps because of this they didn’t offer any more, but I did get them to review it after three months in the role — at which point they did increase my salary by £1,500.
Best salary advice: Have an idea as to how long you want to be with a company when you start, then try to make sure you leave before you feel desperate. For my first two jobs, I was desperate to leave and just took the first job offers that came my way and, by and large, failed to successfully negotiate my pay. I would love to be in a position to take or leave a position and really empower myself to negotiate my salary. If they won’t negotiate, I should to feel that I am in a position to walk away.