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Tips on how to rise through the ranks and become a high earner?(18 Posts)
I haven't been on MN as long as some posters, but I've had my eyes opened (a lot) about how many posters are "high earners" (I guess this is subjective but in my location, non-London city in England, I'd consider that to be 100k/year). This is something which has sparked the burning ambition I once had - DH and I always intended me to be the main breadwinner, but I know I've been treading water for the last few years at work.
I'm currently in a very low management position in an insurance company, in a an area of expertise (risk management - audit). It's so low as to be barely management grade though - basically I do hands-on work and have 2 people (graduates)who report to me. I graduated from uni 10 years ago this year so maybe that's what's making me wonder why I haven't reached the dizzying heights of high earning potential I once dreamed of
However, I've been thinking about some of the common traits that people around me have, with regard to being high earners, and I've come up with this:
1 - Have support at home, someone who can take care of household stuff if travel or last minute overtime needed (I do have this with DH, he is a writer so although he works just as hard as me, it's flexible)
2 - Professionals, mostly (I do have a business degree and insurance qualifications specific to my role)
3 - ???!
.. and that's where I thought I could be a bit cheeky and turn to MN for some help [shy]
So, how much of a gap between what your on now and 100k, if you look at jobs advertised the next step or grade up how much do they go for? How many step ups in your field until you reach that 100k figure?
Currently on 33k/year plus a small bonus (2k if there's a bonus being given out - it wasn't last year).
Next step up would be a "proper" management position, for a team. Looking at similar positions elsewhere that's about 38k - 44k, give or take - we're not currently recruiting so I've been a bit generous with the location information I've compiled, it's spread between me and the nearest three cities.
To get to the 100k figure you're talking Director-type level I guess? But I haven't seen positions in the insurance industry / audit/ risk type roles being openly advertised - I suspect because they're few and far between, and I've been looking into this with more detail since early November. So I think not a hot period for vacancies / people wanting to move jobs over Christmas?
Totally agree with support at home and professional qualifications.
Also find someone that can mentor you, never stop learning and striving to be better.
Take / make opportunities, let it be known that you want to be considered for promotions.
Move companies if there is no progression in your current role.
What skills are in demand in your area of work, how do you meet those skills? How can you get yourself in a position to be considered for those jobs?
I volunteer in a role that I rub shoulders with the MD's of most of the local companies and am on friendly terms with them all. If I were looking for a job, I'd be using them as contacts.
My OH got a huge starting salary for a job once purely because they really needed his skill set, and they paid for him to learn some new stuff as well.
Somebody once told me that successful and ambitious people spend a third of their time doing their job, a third telling people how well they are doing it, and a third 'managing upwards'.
This describes one of my most successful (and dislikable) colleagues to a tee.
So next step is to apply and keep on applying for the 44k jobs at other companies.
In my industry having a great linkedIn profile helps but maybe insurance is different.
How many 'steps' between the 44k and the director jobs?
Move jobs every twoish years unless you work for a global multinational where it's pretty similar. Work out what skills you need to move to the next level ( e.g I'm not looking for promotion this year but my next grade needs management of people skills so have out that into my objectives)
Make sure you get a min of 20% pay increase with every move. Apply for jobs where that you meet 75% criteria or more. Get an American to review your cv ( very generalistic but every American I've worked with really knows how to sell them selves - it's drilled into them)
Get a good mentor preferably within your industry area but not in your company. Ideally get a coach paid for. Make it known you want to advance.
Look at the very senior people in the industry/ sector and work out what skills are absolutely necessary for their roles and those which they delegate ... Too many people especially women want to develop skills which aren't used at senior management level e.g hard data analysis but spend less time on public speaking.
And finally, it's unfortunate but I don't know anyone who earns serious money (100k+)who works less than 70 hours in terms of both producing and thinking about work - it's that they genuinely enjoy the majority of it and so some of it doesn't feel like work to them at all. E.g checking emails late at night, couple of hrs at the weekend. They do tend to make it work for them though - so it's not necessarily 70 hrs in the office mon to fei but they do put those hours in.
Managing upward is a key skill any vaguely ambitious person needs to master
Be prepared to give your life over to work
Work in the south east
Job mobility is key - easier done pre children and with preschoolers. We've upped sticks and crossed the country several times for better jobs and twice due to redundancy. We've even considered jobs abroad but our dc had reached school age and we felt that we should give them more stability in their schooling by then. Most of our peers look askance at this but our jobs were not london centric nor public sector and once you have made the move once, it is less daunting the 2nd and subsequent times.
Similarly, we learnt to negotiate harder for moving costs and the higher the position, the better the subsidy! If you are already in a job, making a move has got to be worth your while (unless you are desparate to leave) so you need to be looking for at least a 15 - 20% payrise in your overall package.
Just as a measurement, 15 yr post graduation achieving 6 figure director level salaries is within the realms of possibility! (Outside london here). You have to be prepared for the reality of working long hours including weekends and travel which may well be the 'norm' due to increased responsibilities. This is the reality of bring well compensated and you have to be ok with that.
Working for a global multi national means that there definitely will be more opportunities for you to apply for. Don't stagnate in the same company for years if you want more. Good luck!
When did you last apply for promotion, try to negotiate a pay rise or volunteer for a high profile project? When did you last do something over and above your job description? Importantly, when did you last tell your boss and your boss's boss that you'd done something over and above your job description? When did you last go on a course? Where are you on your organisation's talent matrix? What do you need to do to move your position?
If you have done 3 - 4 of these things in the last 6 months and it hasn't been recognised, then it's time to move jobs. If you haven't done any of them then you are seen as a middle rank performer - likely very valued for your stable and steady performance, but not seen as someone who is seeking promotion. Time for a full and frank conversation with your boss and an action plan!
Be prepared to do any job at the next grade regardless of whether you enjoy it, are especially good at it or the impact it has on those you manage. People who get on seem to be quite ruthless about "getting on"
Seriously, I don't think talent and hard work are what gets rewarded. It's more a case of charming the right people.
Which is why DH and I are self employed; the rewards are much better.
I work in a similar field and have moved up through the ranks. The things I would add are
- be prepared to move companies/ roles in order to get promoted
- make senior people aware what your ambitions are, so that they keep you in mind when opportunities come up
- take on extra projects/ responsibilities at strategic times
- Make sure you have a good profile on Linked IN - not many £100k are advertised, you need to be approached,
- Try and build up your external reputation, I speak at conferences, write for trade press, that helps
- Talk to recruitment companies when they ring you, even if you are not interested, it's a good way to understand the market and they will be more responsive if you need their help
There are loads of jobs in risk and compliance at the moment, you just need to be in the right place, PM me if you want more info, happy to talk, but can't really do it on a public forum
FS risk/audit/compliance people are HUGELY in demand at the moment, so it's a good time to dust off your ambition.
Yes to being flexible- both putting in the hours when needed, travelling and being able to take up opportunities whether projects, secondments, whatever. Volunteer for high profile things
Tell people you are ambitious and want to progress
Speak to headhunters in your industry
See if you can raise your profile in your industry - being active on social media such as LinkedIn and twitter can help.
Network - local groups, conferences etc. get yourself known and expand your network.
Get a mentor
Be brilliant at your job, and be brilliant at managing stakeholders and influencing people. Go on Shepard moscow's "positive power and influence" if you're not good at this already.
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