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

Illustrated by Jessie Wong.
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: 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".