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.
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! 😉 ).
At the outset of my career, I focused on quickly securing jobs, working hard, learning new skills, and seeking praise. I didn't pay much attention to salary ranges or negotiation. In hindsight, my cultural background influenced this approach and this wasn't always beneficial.
My career path has been diverse and non-linear. I've held various roles: software engineer, business analyst, process and data analyst, business improvement lead, customer experience lead, product owner, and business improvement manager, across several industries like book publishing, e-commerce, financial services, government, loyalty programs, retail, and startups.
Starting as a software engineer in 2010 in a Singaporean small-to-medium enterprise, I earned 35,000 AUD annually (~$43K USD in 2023). After three years of working nearly 60 hours a week and transitioning to a Business Analyst, my salary modestly rose to 55,000 AUD, keeping up with inflation (~$67K USD in 2023).
Relocating to Sydney, Australia, was a game-changer for my career and salary in 2016. My initial roles in process improvement there offered me a 120,000 AUD salary, doubling my earnings (~$140K USD in 2023). This was a result of my relevant qualifications and effectively leveraging my international experience for the new roles.
My experience at Sydney Water, exploring water asset management and IoT, led me to Lean Six Sigma. With my manager’s support, I grew more assertive as a program manager, earned my Green Belt certification, and applied these concepts in real-world scenarios. This led to a substantial salary increase of nearly 180% in my current role, focusing on cost reduction strategies.
Here are some insights that will continue to guide me and might benefit you:
Adaptability is Key: Embrace change and be willing to step into unfamiliar roles or industries and help others. My flexibility to jump into different industries, delve into different roles and constantly help my team & manager has helped me create a diversified portfolio and long-lasting relationships, also making my experience valuable to companies & people who I work (and want to work) with.
Build your own Business Case for Your Next Move: Journal your contributions, strengths and keep preparing that business case for why you’re the best fit for new challenges. This approach is key to confidently seeking promotions and salary hikes.
Lifelong Learning as a Catalyst: Continuously updating your skills is vital. My degrees in Computer Science and Information Systems were just the beginning. I furthered my knowledge in Project Management, Scrum, and Business Analysis with PMP & CCBA certifications, significantly boosting my earning potential. Currently, I’m delving into Blockchain technology and looking forward to exploring AI in operations and process optimization.
Know when to walk away: Don’t allow yourself to be taken for granted. If you have worked hard for something and you don’t get the promotion or salary hike, try one more time. After that, start creating a backup plan and walk away.
Speak Up for What You Want: Don’t just wait for opportunities; if you’ve worked hard for something and you really want it, make sure to ask for it. Closed mouth doesn’t get fed.
Start earning with your mind, rather than only your time: Yes, surely work hard but use more of your mind rather than just time. The more experienced you become, the more meaningful your problem gets. The more meaningful the problem gets, you start to earn with your mind (basically experience) and not just time.
So, show up, do the work and ask. You will receive.