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Candidate Dilemma - Why & When to Accept a Salary Cut

11 months ago by Luigi Muscat Filletti
Person on a calculator

In the previous article, we discussed the importance of salary as an influential element bridging the candidate’s personal and professional life. That being understood, one can now better evaluate when it is suitable and encouraged to accept a salary cut to achieve a greater sense of drive and determination in their daily lives.

This being stated, salary range is only one of the areas which candidates delve into during a job hunt or when already employed - it is ultimately the sense and direction of career progression which brings along with it the packaged components of task ownership, the knowledge of being trusted, rightfully credited, appreciated and respected at the workplace which allow the candidate to fully flourish in their working experiences.

‘Indeed, salary is important, yet it is certainly not to be the focal aspect which determines one’s career success.

Taking the above into consideration, one can then look within and assess their personal level of satisfaction and fulfilment of their role and the value they are providing through that role. Indeed, salary is important, yet it is certainly not to be the focal aspect which determines one’s career success. Below, we take a look at why and when a salary cut should be considered and accepted when looking towards optimising ones everyday life.

Work-Life Balance

That being said, one should certainly consider sacrificing their salary for a job change when their current job is keeping them dissatisfied. If one cannot cope with the daily stresses of their job, feel they are being pushed more than they should be or are compromising other areas of their life because their job is too demanding, then that individual should unquestionably think about a job change and be able to accept a salary cut should they be faced with no alternative routes. 

‘One should certainly consider sacrificing their salary for a job change when their current job is keeping them dissatisfied.’

Work-life balance is an important element which makes or breaks one’s working experience, and moreover, their day-to-day lives. This should therefore be made a priority by channelling what is truly important both in and out of the office and making the necessary or possible changes to optimise one’s overall experience.

Changing Industry

Perhaps, one might wish to change industry too. The opportunity to progress in one’s field within a new sector is a step which many professionals take in order to expand their horizons and enrich their working experiences. This is frequently seen by professionals in fields of finance and technology - accountants, for instance, are required across all industries, and with the growth of technology, software developers are becoming more in demand as particular skills such as Java, Python and C++ are being required by companies to advance digitally. With vacancies in Malta on the rise in various sectors, individuals building careers in finance and technology will continue to see a continuous flow of opportunity come their way. Pursuing such an opportunity usually means having to learn about the way an industry operates, and although one may have plenty experience in their field, they must adjust to concepts of an industry completely new to them. In some cases, salary might remain unchanged or even reduced slightly until one is able to adjust and prove themselves capable of fulfilling their role. This however is a long term game, as by time, salary can increase once one has rooted themselves in their new company, and other initiatives such as performance bonuses can come into effect too.

Seeking New Industry Opportunities

Other ambitions also include taking a chance on a new working opportunity within the same industry. Perhaps an individual might feel attracted to working with an industry competitor for various reasons - one might wish to take it as a new personal challenge, simply recognise better opportunity for growth, or feel attracted to the products and services offered by a different company, making them interested in contributing to those concepts. Of course, salary may not always be affected, however one should not always feel put off by a salary cut, especially if they are considering a new route which highly appeals to them. In addition, an individual might wish a job change to a company which occupies a lower status in the market, such as a start-up, as they feel that great potential lies within the products or services being promised, and which can be made a reality through applying their skill and industry experience. A salary-cut would be expected, yet this only by taking a risk which can prove highly beneficial in the long-term. If things do not go to plan, one can always go back to their former role at another company, especially if they possess the right skills and experience.

‘Salary does not need to occupy the top spot in the mind of the candidate, as there are more important factors which determine the long-term drive, passion, satisfaction and health of an individual, both professionally and personally.’

Remote Working & Gig Working

A salary-cut can also be expected when one wishes to venture out on their own in the working world through remote working or freelancing. The popularity to work from home in Malta is continuing to grow through the widespread internet connectivity and the introduction of flexible working too. Freelancers also have increasing opportunity to connect with clients more frequently. There is always a risk when becoming self-employed such as earning sufficient income and being able to attract a good flow of clients. However, once such a balance is settled, the benefits are rewarding in themselves - working where one wishes and having a personalised schedules permits one to allocate time for all important areas of their lives. Additionally, the gig working population is also on the increase, this seen particularly through the influx of software developers who are able to work with various clients simultaneously, earning income according to each task completed. Part time jobs in Malta are also allowing many individuals the opportunity to pursue such working trends. Many Millennials in tech are choosing this style of work, especially at early stages of their careers or while they are still reading for their degrees, and although salary might not always be as high as expected, it surely allows more time for other commitments.

Hitting Maximum Salary

In relation to individuals occupying senior roles, there may come a time when they reach the maximum salary for their position. This is usually seen when one has been working with a company for many years, achieving frequent salary raises and bonuses until they have reached the maximum of their salary range. This alone is a great accomplishment in itself, provided that one is content in their role and at the company. In some cases, one might feel that their experience is becoming stale which makes them crave a new opportunity. Once more, a job change could be ideal, yet might result in a lower salary, especially if moving to a company lower in the market. At times, salary might even increase - new positions could be acquired, such as consultant and C-Suite positions which bring an added level of responsibility, for which financial rewards would be provided.

All in all

A cut in salary is not all bad news. Firstly, one should be self aware on their current working experience and how it is affecting their lifestyle. If they feel dissatisfied, they should identity the reasons why, and think on how they could change there situation. It is in the interest of organisations to prioritise in the happiness of their employees to ensure productivity and drive, so perhaps a simple chat with a colleague or HR manager could settle certain issues. In other cases, one might wish a move to fulfil their career ambitions or have a more open working schedule.

Whatever the case may be, salary does not need to occupy the top spot in the mind of the candidate, as there are more important factors which determine the long-term drive, passion, satisfaction and health of an individual, both professionally and personally.