Saying ‘Thank You’ Made Me More Money Than Being Assertive

Illustration 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.
Been in the workforce for at least five years and interested in contributing your salary story? Submit your information here. Published stories receive £100.
Age: 30
Location: London
Current industry and job title: Fast moving consumer goods, People Manager
Current salary: £55,000
Number of years employed since school or university: Eight
Starting salary: £12,000 in 2015
Biggest salary jump: £40,000 to £50,000 in 2021
Biggest salary drop: £35,000 to £32,000 in 2019
Biggest negotiation regret: Not asking enough questions! Early experiences (described below) made me feel like I needed to be grateful for any job offer, and that to ask too many questions might rock the boat. It's hard when you're just starting out, but knowledge is power and it helps both sides to be clear on what expectations are.
Best salary advice: Start with 'thank you'. If you've been offered a pay rise, but would like to ask for more, begin with acknowledging what's been offered so far. Then explain what you had in mind, why you think it is fair, and why you deserve it. Sometimes it feels like we're told that we need to be aggressive or assertive when it comes to talking about money, but never forget your basic manners in the process.