Salary Story: I Trusted My Gut & Left A New Job I Hated. Now I Earn 65k

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: 29
Location: Hampshire (thanks, WFH!) after having spent the first four years of my career in London.
Current industry and job title: Head of research, information services
Current salary: £65,000
Number of years employed since school or university: Six
Starting salary: £17,000
Biggest salary jump: £49,000 to £65,000 in 2022.
Biggest salary drop: Luckily I haven't had any salary drop in my career so far.
Biggest negotiation regret: Letting employers determine your worth (and feeling grateful for it). It took me a few years to realise that if I wanted the career I had envisioned for myself, I had to be the one making the case for myself, asking for the raise or negotiating for a better offer. I wish I had known much earlier in my career that if you are good at your job, employers find a way to pay you more money, even in organisations with small budgets.
Best salary advice: I actually have two pieces of advice:
If someone out there is willing to pay you more for what you are currently doing, you're probably being underpaid. Don't waste any time once you have that information otherwise it's like negative compound interest on your career.
Sounds cliché but do always negotiate your salary. Once I started being on the other side and recruiting people for my team, I realised how much power prospective employees have once the offer is made. As the hiring manager you're way more willing to negotiate their salary up rather than go through the recruitment process again.