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Portrett av Erlend Aarsand
MORE PAY? You might just have to change jobs to get the salary you need. Photo: Mikkel Moe

Advice and Tips

The big salary increases come when you change jobs

Written by Sondre Tallaksrud Modified: Nov. 13 2023

Why does changing jobs increase your salary?

While there are many reasons not to change jobs, if getting a big salary increase is at the top of your list of priorities, then changing jobs is the way to go.

– A new employer wants you – and only you – after going through the hiring process. It’s also usually implied that an employee will get a pay increase when he or she changes jobs, and experience has shown that starting out with a new employer is the surest way of getting a salary increase, says Erlend Aarsand, head of Tekna’s Department of Working Life.

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– Many people often get more responsibility

How much of a salary increase you get by changing jobs varies, so, generally speaking, it’s hard to say exactly how much it’ll benefit you.

– It’s difficult to give a concrete answer and depends on individual circumstances. If you’re headhunted for a highly responsible or top management position, your salary can increase a lot. This also happens if you have a very desirable skill set. There are of course also examples of employees whose salaries decreased, but this rarely happens, he explains.

– Shouldn’t your current workplace see your same value as an employee as a new workplace does?

  – A lot of people get more responsibility and more demanding work tasks from changing jobs, which certainly explains why they also get offered a higher salary. Organizations’ salary levels also vary, for example what a start-up company pays compared to a large, financially sound corporation. At the same time, there are salary imbalances in organizations as well.

– There are examples of senior-level executives with a lot of experience who are forced to train new employees where, relatively speaking, the executive does worse salary-wise than the new employees they’re training. Or that project support staff with a lot of responsibility unfortunately earn less than employees who have more operative functions, says Aarsand.

The best thing you can do to ensure you get an appropriate salary level is to ask your closest supervisor to schedule a meeting with you to talk about your salary. You have especially good arguments for a salary increase if you’ve recently had more responsibility and demanding tasks added to your job description. 

Employers will do what they can to keep you

If you still want to accept a new job, there are certain things you should think about before doing so. For instance, it may be wise to make employers aware of the fact that you’ve gotten other offers.

– Potential new employers often ask at an interview if you’re also interviewing at other places. And if you’ve gotten other offers, this shows that you’re attractive, so you’re in a much better bargaining position when discussing salary, says Aarsand.

Getting an offer from a different employer will often be countered with an offer of higher salary from your current employer. Especially in the labor market we’re experiencing now where a lot of people are moving around. Some employers will do whatever they can to keep valued employees in their organization.

– It can be expensive to replace competency, and there’s always a certain risk in hiring new employees. That’s why it’s absolutely a good idea to talk with your supervisor when you’ve gotten another offer, especially when you’re a little unsure about moving and like being where you’re at, he says.

Read: What if you’re asked about your negative qualities?

– Don’t take the first salary offer

When you’ve gotten an offer, it may be wise to use the time you’ve been given to reflect on this offer, check Tekna’s salary statistics, send the employment contract to our attorneys, in this way making sure that you’ve been offered what you actually deserve.

– There’s no one right answer, but no matter what, you shouldn’t accept any initial salary offer. Most employers expect to negotiate employees’ salaries. It’s common for someone to be given a few days, or often up to a week, to accept or decline an employment offer. If it’s a potential employer who’s «headhunted» you, then there might naturally be a relatively long negotiation process and an even longer process for wrapping up a deal. Regardless of all this, it’s important to use your time well, he says.

– Is there a danger that an employer who’s made you an offer will choose somebody else if you ask for too much?

– This happens very rarely in reality. Still, you should neither aim too high nor give any ultimatums if you don’t really believe that there’s a certain salary level that’ll decide whether or not you accept the job on offer. Often, the best thing to do is to point out that you think the salary level’s too low and ask your potential new employer to evaluate making you a higher offer, says Aarsand.

Your arguments can include the salary level you’re at with your current employer as well as Tekna’s salary statistics. You don’t necessarily need to justify this point any further.

– From a legal point of view, an employee’s request for a higher salary be denied, but most employers know very well that there’ll be a salary negotiation after the first offer’s been made. You’re the one the employer wants now that you’ve both gone through the hiring process from start to finish, he concludes.

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