How taking a step back can be a huge step forward

Dec 15, 2016 | Blog


For most, the idea of taking a pay cut is absolutely unthinkable, especially in the current financial climate, but for many it’s the most effective way out of a career rut.

It’s a common perception that the primary goal for a career is to be paid as much as possible. For some, this is a goal that works just fine and does keep them happy, but does it keep them progressing? Are they thinking of the future or being blinded to it by the present? Believe it or not, there are more and more skilled professionals choosing to effectively ‘demote’ themselves in order to ensure that their careers go the way they want them to and make sure that in 20 years they find themselves exactly where they want to be. So how can a pay cut or a demotion enable this?

Certainly, it’s not the only route to long-term career happiness, but it is certainly worth considering as one of the CA consultants describes:

Sometimes employees might be overpaid in companies that ‘use’ salary to retain staff, making it difficult for them to leave, despite an ever-increasingly obvious lack of career growth opportunity. In these cases, it’s when an employee gets bored that they may then consider a bit of a salary drop in order to move into a more challenging role where the can grow and ultimately be happier.”

If you’re finding yourself becoming less and less happy at work, it’s certainly worth looking at this aspect of your career. Nikki goes on to offer some advice for those considering the prospect of taking a pay cut to move forward with their professional lives.

Anyone considering taking a pay cut for career progression needs to do their research on what the market related salaries are (use tools such as the salary survey found on the site). They need to carefully and properly research the opportunities they are considering.

  • Speak to people who are working for the company, look at how long people are generally in the company for (is there a high staff turnover rate?)
  • Find out about study leave/study assistance if you want to go further academically. Do be careful about committing to study assistance as you will have to work for a certain length of time for the company and may be liable to pay back study money if you leave.

Basically, a decision to step back in order to move forward is not always the answer but when it is, proceed with caution.”

Above all, make sure that a pay cut is something you can accommodate in your current financial situation. Remember, it’s only the salary that will change – not the bills!

We want to know if you have ever been brave enough to drop your salary in order to move forward with your career. Did it work? Did it fail? Would you do it again?


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