A green pot of gold coins overflowing onto a wooden table representing a bigger salary.
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Money matters: Is a bigger salary always the right decision?

15 Aug 2018

There’s a job offer on the table with your name on it and it comes with a bigger salary. It’s an easy decision, right? Hays’ Nick Deligiannis is here to tell you why it’s not so simple.

Whether you were actively looking for a new position or not, you have found yourself in a situation where you have been offered a new role.

What’s more, the role pays far more than your current one for doing pretty much the same thing so, on the face of it, the choice seems obvious: go where the money is.

But is this decision really that clear-cut? The answer is rarely yes. There are many other key considerations you need to take into account when assessing the offer.

Will it give you career progression?

Take a step back and review the opportunities to progress your skills and your career, both at your current organisation and at this potential new employer.

While this new move may offer more money right now, this is counterintuitive if you are still going to be doing the same job, earning the same salary, with the exact same set of skills a few years down the line.

That last point is important. The most in-demand skills are constantly changing with technology and if you want to keep progressing your career, you need to be able to keep your skills fresh.

Upskilling is essential in the fourth industrial revolution, and working somewhere where lifelong learning is embedded in the culture and encouraged by senior management will certainly help. And I would say this is more important than an initial pay rise.

Think back to what you were able to find out, both when researching the organisation and during your interview. Did you get the impression that you would have the opportunity to learn new skills and that your boss would support you with this?

What about when you researched the existing employees’ stories on LinkedIn and their company website? Had they grown as professionals and taken their careers from strength to strength at this organisation?

Weigh up which job is most likely to enhance your professional development. From there, you can decide which option is the better long-term investment for your career.

Are you passionate about the company’s values?

I think this is a very important consideration, and one a lot of people can forget about. A pay rise may be enough to lure you initially but in order to feel engaged in the long term, you need to feel passionate about your employer’s vision and purpose, and how your role plays into that.

Ask yourself honestly: do you really feel interested in what this new organisation does, or are you just tempted by the money?

On the other hand, perhaps this new organisation really gets your blood pumping. You felt excited when you started researching them and, since then, your interest has grown more and more. This, plus a nice pay packet, equals a pretty good reason for taking the job.

Do you think you will be happy?

Of course, you can’t predict the future and you won’t really know if you will be happy for sure without actually giving the job a go. But certain red flags – or, on the contrary, green lights – can give you a pretty good inkling.

Maybe you were uncertain about your potential new boss during the interview, or perhaps you could sense a tense and miserable atmosphere when you walked into the office.

Were you secretly hoping you wouldn’t get the job but now you’ve been offered it, you feel you have to take it because the money seems too good to turn down?

On the other hand, maybe you had a good feeling about this place before you even went to the interview. You researched the company thoroughly beforehand and got the impression that the culture was welcoming and open, and this definitely seemed to be the case when you met with your potential colleagues and boss on the day of the interview.

Overall, you enjoyed the interview and could really picture yourself working at this place and feeling happy.

Just remember, you are going to be spending the majority of your time for the foreseeable future at this place and if you are unhappy, this will have a huge impact on your career performance and your wellbeing in general.

Whatever you decide, don’t just be tempted by the relatively short-term lure of more money. Take a step back and think about whether this role can offer you the progression opportunities, sense of purpose and overall workplace wellbeing that you want and deserve.

It won’t take long for the material perks of your new job to wear off. And when they do, you need to be sure that moving to where the money was, was the best thing for your career.

By Nick Deligiannis

Nick Deligiannis is the managing director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand. Prior to joining Hays in 1993, Deligiannis had a background in human resource management and marketing, and formal qualifications in psychology.

A version of this article originally appeared on Hays’ Viewpoint blog.

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