My base salary has grown 92% since 2012. In a business environment where 2.8% Wage Growth is the norm, I have managed a yearly average increase of 13%. I have made this possible with a lack of strategy in the beginning of my career to clearly defining a goal to get to where I am at now.
I began my career in the military which has limited salary growth. I started attending college while in the military and finally landed a salary job in 2012. I was extremely happy to finally be in that business environment, but I was not thrilled about my salary compared to my peers. I felt that I was in an entry level position making the same money as some young kid who just graduated college. Unfortunately military experience doesn’t always translate to corporate experience. Most companies would tell me that 6 years of military experience is equivalent to 1-2 years of corporate experience.
I wasn’t very strategic when I started my professional career because I didn’t take the time to fully understand what I needed to obtain in order to advance. I would browse the internal job postings and apply for jobs based on salary. I didn’t think about what I could do to improve my skill set to actually land a higher paying job.
I was fortunate enough to land an interview for a higher paying position however, I had no prior experience in that role. I didn’t think I was going to get the job. To my surprise I was offered the job and my pay jumped up 22%. I was ecstatic about the increased pay but also very stressed because I had no idea what I was doing. I learned fast and that’s when I stumbled across a famous quote from Richard Branson “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”
This experience was my lightbulb going off in my head. Landing a higher paying position depends on three things in my opinion. First, show the prospective employer that you are capable of doing the job. Second, strategically search for a position that allows you to learn and grow. Third is luck. I will expand on that briefly. More important than what you have done or can do, is to make a connection with the hiring manager. This is pure luck. It’s almost like dating. You can both say the right things, but something might signal to each other that this isn’t a perfect match. Plenty of qualified candidates have not been offered the job based on the hiring manager not having that feeling. Each time I have been offered a higher paying position it is because myself and the hiring manager matched on a personal level.
I believe from experience and from talking to people who have moved up the corporate ladder, is that you should think about being in a position no less than 2 years and no more than 5 years. I don’t think it’s wise to jump from company to company every 2 years but internally is a different story.
The major benefit from leaving a company and joining another is that your Salary Increase on average could be 10%.
So let’s wrap this up with the numbers. I will list the major salary increases. I also never got a raise below 3.5%. I consider myself a high performer and so has all of my employers.
In 2013 I was promoted and received a 22% pay increase.
In 2018 I left that company for another one and received a 15% pay increase.
In 2019 I joined a new company and my pay increased by 11%.
If I stayed in my original position waiting and hoping for a promotion or pay increase, it would have taken me 32 years at 3% annually to match my current salary.
Bottom line is this, nobody is going to hand you anything. You need to work hard and seek out new opportunities.