Salary Stories: I Doubled My 50k Salary By Quitting A Permanent Role

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: 32
Current location: London
Current salary: £85,000
Number of years employed: 10
Starting salary: I temped for three months after uni as a very generic-sounding Operational Support Analyst. I was pro rata'd for £18,000 p/a.
Biggest salary jump: When I switched from permanent employment to contract in 2016, I went from £50,000 p/a to £450 a day, which more than doubled my take-home pay.
Biggest salary drop: I quit contracting for a permanent role in 2020 and went from £575 a day to £80,000 p/a.
Biggest salary negotiation regret: If I am being honest, I feel good about my negotiations so far in my career. I am acutely aware of my tendency to think I'm not worth what I am paid, so I constantly remind myself that it's less about my own perceived worth and more about the market. I'm always on Glassdoor, checking what people in my role and in my company are getting paid. I've also almost always been happy to walk away from a position/application if my salary expectation was not met, which is a HUGE privilege. With hindsight, I might have negotiated a little more early on in my career — my second job had me managing a team of five or six people, in London, in finance, for a little over 30k. But I was only 25 and it was worth it just for the learning curve.
Best salary advice: Do your research. It's so easy to see lots of job ads offering a certain salary band and assume that's the going rate. Glassdoor is an amazing tool for looking up what real people in real jobs earn. Also: ask around. Salary and money are obviously still big taboos (and I wouldn't advise talking pay if your employment contract prohibits it) but the more we open up about what we earn, the more equipped we all are when talking to our bosses about remuneration. One other piece of advice is: if you don't ask, you don't get. If you're offered a job at a specific salary, ALWAYS ask for more. The chances are they are trying to slice a little out of the budget by paying you a few grand less. The worst they can say is no and then you can still take the job if you want it.

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