Salary Story: I’m 27 & Left The Police Force For 47k

Illustrated by Holly Farndell.
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: 27
Location: Southeast England
Current industry and job title: Safety and security executive in the transport sector
Current salary: £47,000
Number of years employed since school or university: 11
Starting salary: £800 per month in 2013
Biggest salary jump: £16,000 to £28,000 in 2015 when I moved to London and joined the police
Biggest salary drop: £47,000 to £39,000 in 2020
Biggest negotiation regret: Police pay is on a scale so there is no negotiation, it increases with service during the first seven years. In the first three to four years it increases by around £1,000 to £2,000 a year; from years five to seven it increases in larger leaps by around £3,000 to £4,000 per year until it ends at approximately £42,000. When London weighting and allowance is added on it totals around £48,000. The salary scales are published online.
Best salary advice: Don’t be afraid to talk about salaries. Figure out what friends are earning and whether the grass can be greener. I was terrified to leave the police; it was always a career that I, like others, intended to remain in for my entire working life. But I knew a better work-life balance, salary and ultimately a less taxing role could be found outside the public sector. I just wasn’t sure I was qualified for anything else as I joined the police when I was 19 and although I had done lots of different roles within the force, I knew not every employer would recognise the transferable skills.
My advice would be to back yourself, sell your transferable skills and if you’re not sure whether you have everything a prospective employer is looking for, apply anyway. In every interview I did when looking to leave the police, the hiring managers always commented that my experience was interesting, varied and different from anyone else they’d interviewed and I almost always got offered the job. Don’t let self-doubt prevent progression.