A Story About Growth: Lessons learned from my salary pathFeatured

Our Salary Paths series aims to give fellow Elphas a reference point for salary negotiations and encourage more women to talk about compensation. We hope that opening up the conversation will contribute to more pay transparency and equitable pay.

As a global series, we’re interested in gaining insights into salary progressions across different countries and economies. The numbers in this post may differ from what you are accustomed to, reflecting the distinct contexts of these global stories.

Interested in sharing your Salary Path with us? Please fill out this form here and we will get back to you (can be posted anonymously, too! 😉 ).

The most important thing I realized while writing this is that my story is one that is about growth. I say this because I was pretty surprised when I was approached to share my story as my salary increase looks a lot different from the massive numbers I see here. I realised it was less about the amount and more about the lessons learned along the way.

I began my career nearly 3 years ago, at the age of 20, right in the middle of the pandemic. I got employment working for a tech-enabled business as the sole member of their marketing team. I worked there for nearly two years where I earned about $1400 yearly which is a less-than-average salary for an entry-level marketing role in Nigeria. I really enjoyed the work as I was able to play to my strengths in creative writing and content creation while developing my analytical skills and other technical marketing skills. I also had to get into user experience design and project management as the role continued to demand more from me.

After a year on board, I realised the magnitude of the role I had been taking on. This was compounded by the fact that the company had expanded and I had taken up an integral role in that with no compensation. I advocated for myself by asking for a 30 percent raise. Which only led to a small salary bump, bringing me to a little over $1500. In that same year, my hours were cut in half which led to significant financial anxiety.

After this event, I realised I was not being adequately valued and decided to look for a new role. Initially, I was reluctant to do this as I loved the company I worked for and wished to grow with it. However, my friends made me own up to the fact that I was not being treated fairly.

I came to understand that my knowledge from managing all aspects of marketing at a company was invaluable. This was in addition to my being able to self-start and manage most tasks. However, due to the economic downturn in my country, I was only able to find a role 7 months later at another tech-enabled company. There I got benefits, a team of two other marketing professionals and a salary increase that nearly doubled my salary.

This job has improved so many aspects of my life. I have lessened financial anxiety, I am able to rest more because I don’t have to handle every task, and I am also able to take care of my loved ones better. The role has also allowed me to specialise in content marketing which is where my strength lies. Every day I am able to improve myself in an area I know I’d love to do long term.

Looking to the future, I would love to continue to improve my earnings as the years go by. Reading the Salary Path Series on Elpha continues to inspire me to reach for more as the sky is the limit. As women, we may feel reluctant to stand up for ourselves, but it is important to ask for more when we deserve it. And most importantly to leave spaces that refuse to honour our value.

Editor’s note: Since writing this post, Oluwakemi has unfortunately been laid off and is currently in search of her next role. If anyone in the community knows of any job opportunities that would be a great fit for her skills and experience, we encourage you to reach out to her.

Happy to have written this piece. Thank you to Josefina and the entire team at Elpha ❤️
We're happy that you chose to share it with us! It's was a pleasure to work on it with you.
Thanks for sharing @oluwakemiagbato
Thank you for reading!