Anyone else filled by an impending sense of doom as you reach the tills at monthly supermarket shop time? Online shopping isn’t much better as all those brands you love so much are gradually substituted by ‘supermarket own’ in an effort to reduce the size of your basket. (By the way, I draw the line at substituting butter, brown sauce and baked beans - life’s too short. I digress…..)
Operation hairshirt has limited appeal the longer it goes on, and consequently one’s monthly take-home salary is coming under scrutiny like never before.
Of course many enlightened employers are very aware of the pressures on your piggybank, and if they were sensible or able, will have provided you with an increase in the heady days of 2022 when quite frankly everything was looking much rosier – a buoyant job market, a fight for talent, and strong results in the majority of quarters meant more dosh to share around. As well as bigger financial rewards on offer to those prepared to switch employers. But 2023 paints a different picture….and you'd do well to think things through carefully before highlighting salary as a reason for action (whether to move jobs, or to look to negotiate a better paid salary where you are). Some things to think about:
Am I worth it?
An old fashioned concept this – self-awareness. Humility. Honesty about the skills you have and what they’re worth to your own and indeed any other employer.
Can you hand on heart say that you’re doing a great job? Working hard? Delivering results? Being impactful? Are you actually being paid the right amount, much as you might like to dream otherwise?
Am I considering market conditions?
You love your job. You love the people you work with. Your company looks after you. But for whatever reason, your company hasn’t been able to increase your salary. Just be a bit careful about jumping ship just for the money – grass is not always greener after all. It’s noticeable that a larger proportion of job moves that took place during 2020 & 2021 ended up being comparatively short in terms of length of tenure than in previous years. There are a number of reasons for this – companies adjusting to new working models, ups and down of economy, businesses doing well one minute, not so much the next…but also paying ‘over the odds’ lured some otherwise perfectly happy employees onto pastures new. Only to find that the promised green meadow was actually a muddy field.
We’d strongly recommend finding a different reason than money for making a move – career prospects, fresh challenge, change of scenery, more supportive or enlightened colleagues, more appropriate hybrid working arrangements. ‘I’ve fallen out with one of my colleagues’ always used to be one of reasons for moving jobs that always used to crop up intermittently - interestingly the less time that people spend in the office with each other in the hybrid working world of today, the fewer friction points there seem to be!
Should I compare myself with others who seem to be earning more elsewhere?
The short answer is no. Bear in mind that 2022 was an anomaly. Whilst some companies were in a position to offer big salaries in order to attract exceptional talent who would quickly demonstrate the trust placed in them to deliver an appropriate return on their investment, a number of companies paid too much for the level of skills that they hired. In the latter scenarios, these employers and employees could find themselves in choppy waters going forward in economic times where there’s greater scrutiny on cost vs. value add. We’d encourage you to treat with scepticism jobs that pay more than the job appears to be worth or that are prepared to pay you more than you’re worth. A goldmine can often be full of fool’s gold.
Be brave, be realistic, be sensible.
Discuss your salary with your employer. Get a better understanding of where they see your career heading with them and what that could mean for you financially. Similarly be alive to alternatives – we’re still in a world of opportunity where there’s so many great jobs out there that could have your name on them and could do wonders for your career.
But move jobs for the right reasons. And that’s rarely financial.
And never venture away from Heinz when it comes to beans.
- Guy Barrand