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Salary Story: I Skipped Uni & I’m Now Making 75k At 27

·3 min read

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.

Been in the workforce for at least five years and interested in contributing your salary story? Submit your information here. Published stories receive £100.

Age: 27
Location: London
Current industry and job title: Senior software engineer
Current salary: £75,000
Number of years employed since school or university: 10

Starting salary: £11,000 in 2012
Biggest salary jump: £24,500 to £60,000
Biggest salary drop: N/A

Biggest negotiation regret: I don’t think I have any regrets, to be honest. Even if I haven’t got the answer I wanted, something good always came of it, even if it was just the confidence to do it again.

Best salary advice: After you’ve been offered a role, always ask for more than what they’re offering… I know it’s a cliché but honestly, the worst they can say is no. In my second job I tried to do this but as they had fixed pay scales they couldn’t accommodate any more, which was fine.

In my current role, I was interviewing at other places at the same time (and now know this place wanted me). So I said I’d be happy to cancel my other interviews if they would round my salary up to £60k from the £55k they offered me. I got an email back a couple of hours later that they were happy to do this, so accepted it on the spot!

I decided university wasn’t for me after getting average A-level results. So I went straight into working in retail as a sales advisor on minimum wage (as I was 17 at the time it was even lower than usual).
I decided university wasn’t for me after getting average A-level results. So I went straight into working in retail as a sales advisor on minimum wage (as I was 17 at the time it was even lower than usual).
After being offered this role as a bank cashier I asked about an increase in their offered salary (£19k) but they had fixed salary bands so no movement, which was fair enough. They did say they’d put me on a career progression plan straightaway though, so something good did come out of asking.
After being offered this role as a bank cashier I asked about an increase in their offered salary (£19k) but they had fixed salary bands so no movement, which was fair enough. They did say they’d put me on a career progression plan straightaway though, so something good did come out of asking.
I didn’t push for a salary increase at this role as a junior web developer as I knew I’d learn a hell of a lot and was very grateful that they gave me a chance with my career switch to coding. They were happy to match my current salary, as was I.
I didn’t push for a salary increase at this role as a junior web developer as I knew I’d learn a hell of a lot and was very grateful that they gave me a chance with my career switch to coding. They were happy to match my current salary, as was I.
My training wheels were finally ready to come off so in my 1-2-1 with my boss I asked whether they thought I was ready to drop the 'junior' from my title and they were happy to! This came with a £5,500 pay rise, which I was more than pleased with.
My training wheels were finally ready to come off so in my 1-2-1 with my boss I asked whether they thought I was ready to drop the 'junior' from my title and they were happy to! This came with a £5,500 pay rise, which I was more than pleased with.
I decided it was time to move to London from the east of England so was applying to all the jobs I could. The developer interview is a long, three-step process so this was a really stressful time as I was in the process with about three different companies. But as I explained, it paid off. I used it as negotiation leverage with my current company (which really helped with the shock of the London cost of living) and negotiated a £5k pay rise before I’d even started.
I decided it was time to move to London from the east of England so was applying to all the jobs I could. The developer interview is a long, three-step process so this was a really stressful time as I was in the process with about three different companies. But as I explained, it paid off. I used it as negotiation leverage with my current company (which really helped with the shock of the London cost of living) and negotiated a £5k pay rise before I’d even started.
The previous year was probably the most stressful of my career, with half our team furloughed and us having a lot of pressure to push a big project live. I waited until the dust had settled and asked my boss whether they thought I was ready for a raise. They came back around a week later and told me I was getting a £15k raise! This was one of the happiest and proudest moments of my career and shows the company’s appreciation for me, which is really motivating for my career here.
The previous year was probably the most stressful of my career, with half our team furloughed and us having a lot of pressure to push a big project live. I waited until the dust had settled and asked my boss whether they thought I was ready for a raise. They came back around a week later and told me I was getting a £15k raise! This was one of the happiest and proudest moments of my career and shows the company’s appreciation for me, which is really motivating for my career here.

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

Salary Story: I Refuse To Be Judged For My Career

Salary Story: I Changed Career Because Of Burnout

Salary Story: By Freelancing I Doubled My Salary

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