In my experience, most salary raises are a $2000 or less a year, if that!
No one really gets any more unless you are saddled with more responsibilities by moving up a level, or after years of hounding them.
I was an employee once.. a long time ago.
I started in my career at $65,000 a year at one job, and 5 years later, I was offered $130,000 to do the same job with more experience.
That’s a doubled salary of $65,000 in 5 years, or $13,000 a year.
HOW DID I DO IT?
The open secret is as an employee, you have to switch companies to make more money.
Leave for another company.
Come back to the company (or go to another one entirely).
Leave for another company.
….Wash, Rinse and Repeat.
Whenever you start at a new company, you will always be offered more money than what you are making, it’s just a question of how much more money at that point!
Your goal when you leave and come back to different companies (or not), is to make the most of it by negotiating the HIGHEST base salary you can snag when you join the company.
Companies tend to value outsiders more than their own employees.
Unless employees can prove that they (as in, their SKILLS) are in demand and able to leave, companies won’t really see their value.
This is not always true, but it’s a safe assumption to make.
WHAT IF I DIDN’T LEAVE AT ALL?
If I had stayed at a company, I could have reasonably expected a 2% raise each year or $1300/year. In some years, I probably wouldn’t get a raise at all!
So with that in mind, 5 years later, if I had stayed at my old job, I would have been at around $70,358 for my base salary.
Instead, I doubled my salary just by leaving and joining another company 5 years later.
I understand that my industry is unusual in the sense that most companies wouldn’t double your salary with 5 years of experience, but I also made sure of the following:
- I worked really hard to make myself marketable
- I went on amazing projects and proved I was a leader
- I never once let my CV get old and dusty
- I constantly updated my skills at every chance I got
- I kept in touch with people I knew to learn about opportunities
BUT HOW DO YOU JUST LEAVE A COMPANY?
I’ve always told myself:
If you can’t leave a company and join another one for a similar job or at the equal amount of pay, you’re not valued by the market.
Therefore you you weren’t meant for that job to begin with (as in, you got lucky).
As a result, keeping up on the industry changes to understand what is coming up, is just making sure that my long-term career plans will veer into the right direction so I can make the most of it.
Otherwise, you just leave.
If you are valued, you will be snapped up in no time.
If you think that is too harsh, I suggest reading this post to give yourself a reality check.
If you feel like you can’t leave because you aren’t marketable, then do your research and make yourself marketable.
- What do companies want?
- What are companies paying for?
- What is the future of this job/role/industry?
Target what you’re interested in, and what makes the most money.
THERE WILL NEVER BE A GOOD TIME TO QUIT
Quitting is not a stress-free endeavour, especially if you have debt (like I did), or if you don’t have anything lined up before quitting (like I did).
So I suggest that you get something lined up before quitting.
Otherwise, you better have a healthy emergency fund!