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I Trusted My Instincts & Doubled My Salary To £70,000 In Two Years

Illustrated by Vivienne Shao.
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: 28
Location: London
Current industry and job title: Senior project education specialist in software/tech
Current salary: £70,000
Number of years employed since school or university: Five
Starting salary: £24,000 in 2018
Biggest salary jump: £55,000 to £70,000 in 2022
Biggest salary drop: I've been fortunate not to have had a drop yet but it definitely feels like it's on the horizon.
Biggest negotiation regret: In my second job, where I was paid £24,000 and hired to do one specific role, after one year my duties had changed significantly and I was working 13+ hour days and managing integral tasks in literally every part of the business. When quitting, I mentioned this as a reason for why I was leaving and the cofounder told me that they couldn't possibly have known I wasn't happy with my salary as I hadn't formally asked for more money. This really drove home for me that if I don't advocate for myself, nobody will, and that I can't expect the people who run startups to do what is right.
Best salary advice: Every time I interview for a role, I write down my answer to the salary question and practise saying it confidently out loud a few times. I always know what I want but find that if I don't do this, I get a bit blindsided by the question and will give a flimsy answer that doesn't set my expectations correctly. For my first few years of applying for jobs, I'd panic and tell them the lowest number I could live on, so I started doing this as a way to combat that panic.