The grass is greener

As I begin my journey towards financial independence, I’ve been looking back at the choices I made over the last decade. There’s plenty of mistakes in there, which are fodder for future blog posts. But I’ll start with something positive – the benefits of being a disloyal employee.

Over the past ten years my income has increased 150%. A key factor of that rapid growth has been my tendency to switch employers. The table below shows my income increases as I moved between roles:

YearIncomeIncreaseNotes
2009£50kEmployer #1.
2013£75k50%Moved to Employer #2.
2015£100k33%Moved to Employer #3.
2017£107k7%Moved back to Employer #1.
2019£125k17%Moved to Employer #4.

To understand why this works, consider how companies hire people. When jobs are given to internal candidates, they only get a modest raise. HR departments really don’t like increasing salaries more than 5-10% for a promotion, regardless of the change in responsibility. By contrast, external candidates get to name their price, as long as it falls within market norms.

Here’s a few tips for maximising income with job moves:

  • Make big leaps (e.g. your first management role) within your existing company. After a year, move into the same level job somewhere else and enjoy a big pay bump.
  • Never tell recruiters how much you earn. They always ask, but there’s no need to tell them.
  • Use the available tools to understand the market rate, so you ask for a fair salary:
    • Glass Door shares salary information and employer reviews. If I remember correctly, you -have to anonymously share your own salary before you get access to this.
    • LinkedIn also estimates salaries if you’re a premium member. You can get a free month of premium and cancel before they charge you.
  • As you get deeper into the recruitment process, make sure you understand the benefits package. Salary is just one factor. Pension matching, private healthcare and life assurance are important considerations as well. Some companies offer complicated salary and bonus structures, so make sure you understand what’s pensionable.

If you have any other suggestions for maximising salary, please let me know in the comments.


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