Working in Further Education

10 Methods to Increase Your Salary

May 23, 2023

Table of Contents

Are you stuck in the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, wondering how some people seem to climb the salary ladder with ease? Perhaps you've found yourself asking, "What's their secret?" You're not alone in this quest for financial growth and stability. In today's competitive job market, increasing your salary often requires more than just hard work and dedication.

It requires a strategic approach that blends professional development, negotiation skills, a solid understanding of market trends, and sometimes, a leap of faith into new job roles or industries. It's about recognising your worth, investing in your skills, and understanding when to make that bold move.

In this post, we'll uncover ten effective strategies to boost your salary. But this isn't a get-rich-quick scheme. It's about sustainable growth, empowering you to take control of your career and financial future. We understand that everyone's journey is unique. Therefore, whether you're just stepping into the professional world, seeking a salary negotiation, or pondering a career pivot, there's something valuable for you here.

How to Increase Your Salary

1. Improve Your Skills

In today's fast-paced and ever-evolving job market, upskilling – the process of acquiring new and relevant skills – is not just a fancy buzzword; it's a necessity. As the job landscape shifts due to technological advancements, economic changes, and evolving business models, there's a growing demand for skills that can keep pace. Upskilling is one of the most effective ways to ensure you remain an attractive candidate and, ultimately, increase your earning potential.

Here at Bolt Jobs, we understand the significance of continuous learning and development in the further education and skills sector. We're committed to providing you with a wide range of opportunities to learn, grow, and excel in your chosen field.

A few key skills that are currently in high demand across various sectors include:

  1. Digital Literacy: With the rise of remote work and digital platforms, proficiency in digital tools and technologies is crucial.
  2. Data Analysis: As businesses increasingly rely on data to make informed decisions, possessing analytical skills can set you apart.
  3. Soft Skills: Emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and communication skills are highly sought after by employers.
  4. Adaptability: The ability to adjust to new environments and changes is a highly valued trait in today's dynamic job market.
  5. Educational Technology: For those in the education sector, familiarity with online teaching tools and platforms is a big plus.

So, how do you go about improving these skills? There's an abundance of online courses, webinars, and workshops available to help you develop these competencies. Websites like Coursera and LinkedIn Learning offer a variety of courses in all of the above areas.

Remember, the goal is to stay relevant and competitive in your industry. By investing time in your professional development and upskilling, you're not only expanding your current knowledge base, but you're also showing potential employers that you're proactive, committed to your growth, and ready to take on new challenges.

2. Get Certified

Climbing the salary ladder often involves more than just experience and skills; it's about tangibly showcasing your expertise. This is where professional certifications come into play. Earning a certification in your field not only validates your skills but also sets you apart from other professionals. It's a clear signal to employers that you're committed to your career and you have the knowledge and skills that meet industry standards.

In the further education and skills sector, there are a multitude of certification programs that can enhance your credentials. Let's take a look at a few:

  1. Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP): Offered by the Association for Talent Development (ATD), this certification is highly respected in the learning and development field.
  2. Certified Training and Development Professional (CTDP): This certification from the Institute of Performance and Learning is a renowned qualification in training and development.
  3. PRINCE2 Practitioner: For those in project management, this globally recognized certification can significantly increase your career prospects.
  4. Certified E-Learning Specialist (CELS): If you're in the e-learning space, this certification can validate your ability to develop effective e-learning solutions.

Getting certified might require an investment of both time and money, but the payoff can be substantial in terms of salary potential. Employers often seek out certified professionals and are willing to pay a premium for their expertise.

Ready to take the next step in your career? You can find more information about these certifications and where to get them on websites like the Association for Talent Development (ATD), The Institute of Performance and Learning and PRINCE2.

3. Negotiate Your Current Salary

We've all heard the age-old saying, "You don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate." This rings particularly true when it comes to your salary. Whether you're in the middle of a job interview or a performance review, mastering the art of negotiation can play a pivotal role in ensuring you're adequately compensated for your skills and expertise.

Negotiating your salary might seem daunting, but it's a crucial part of your career journey. It's not just about getting paid more; it's about acknowledging your worth and ensuring others see it too. Here are a few tips to effectively negotiate your salary:

  1. Do Your Research: Understand the average salary range for your role in your location and industry. Bolt Jobs maintains a live database of salary ranges in the FE, skills and learning sectors, which you can view here. Or websites such as Glassdoor and Payscale can provide you with this information.
  2. Highlight Your Accomplishments: Be ready to discuss your achievements, skills, and contributions. Show your potential or current employer how you add value to the company.
  3. Practice Active Listening: Pay attention to what the other party is saying. This can provide you with insights into their concerns or objections, which you can address effectively.
  4. Be Prepared to Walk Away: If the offer doesn't meet your expectations and there's no room for negotiation, be prepared to consider other opportunities.
  5. Follow-Up: If you've discussed a potential salary increase during a performance review, make sure to follow up on the conversation.

Negotiating your salary can lead to a significant pay increase. Remember, if you don't ask, the answer is always no. So, it's essential to muster the courage, do your homework, and make a compelling case for your salary increase.

4. Seek a Promotion

One of the most straightforward paths to a higher salary is moving up the ladder in your current job through a promotion. Promotions are not just about a new title; they often come with increased responsibilities, learning opportunities, and, most importantly, a significant bump in your salary.

Taking on additional responsibilities can be a strategic move towards a promotion. It shows your employer that you're capable, committed, and ready for more significant challenges. Here are a few ways to position yourself for a promotion:

  1. Demonstrate Initiative: Don't wait for tasks to be assigned to you. Take the initiative to identify areas of improvement and work on them.
  2. Expand Your Skill Set: As discussed earlier, upskilling and getting certified can make you more valuable to your employer. The more skills you possess, the more indispensable you become.
  3. Show Leadership: Lead by example. Show your team and management that you have the qualities of a leader. This could be through mentoring junior staff, managing projects, or making impactful contributions in team meetings.
  4. Communicate Your Aspirations: Make sure your superiors know that you're interested in moving up. Discuss your career goals with them and ask for their support and guidance.

Promotions can significantly increase your salary, but they also come with more responsibilities. It's essential to ensure that you're ready for the challenges that come with the new role.

5. Change Your Job or Industry

While loyalty to a job or industry has its merits, sometimes the quickest path to a significant salary increase is to make a bold move. Changing jobs, or even industries, can open the door to exciting opportunities and potentially higher pay.

Job hopping, once seen as a red flag by employers, is becoming more common and even accepted in many sectors. A strategic job change can often lead to a salary increase that might take years to achieve in your current role. By switching jobs, you're not only bringing your skills and experience to a new company, but you're also gaining the opportunity to negotiate a higher salary.

Similarly, changing industries can also lead to a higher salary, especially if you're moving into a higher-paying industry. This move, however, requires careful consideration. It's important to assess how your current skills and experience can be transferred to the new industry. It might also involve additional training or even starting in a lower position before working your way up.

Here are a few tips if you're considering a job or industry change:

  1. Do Your Research: Understand the job market and the industries you're interested in. What skills are in demand? What does the pay scale look like?
  2. Network: Connect with professionals in the industry you're interested in. This can provide you with valuable insights and potential job leads.
  3. Highlight Transferable Skills: Make sure potential employers understand how your current skills and experiences can benefit them.
  4. Be Ready for Change: Changing jobs or industries often involves stepping out of your comfort zone. Be prepared for new challenges and experiences.

6. Network

Never underestimate the power of a strong professional network. Networking is not just about exchanging business cards at corporate events; it's about building meaningful relationships that can contribute to your career growth. A robust network can provide you with valuable industry insights, mentorship, and job opportunities, and even lead to a higher salary.

Effective networking goes beyond merely adding contacts to your LinkedIn account. It's about actively engaging with these contacts, offering value, and maintaining relationships. Here are a few tips to enhance your networking strategy:

  1. Offer Value: Networking is a two-way street. Think about how you can help others, not just what you can get out of the relationship.
  2. Attend Industry Events: Conferences, seminars, and webinars are great places to meet like-minded professionals. Don't be shy to introduce yourself and strike up a conversation.
  3. Leverage Social Media: Platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter are fantastic tools for networking. Engage with posts, share valuable content, and join industry-specific groups.
  4. Follow Up: Met someone interesting at a networking event? Send them a follow-up email or connect with them on LinkedIn. Remember to keep the conversation going.
  5. Never Stop Networking: Networking isn't just for when you're job hunting. Continually building and maintaining your professional network can open doors you didn't even know existed.

Networking can lead to new job opportunities that come with higher salaries. Websites like Eventbrite and Meetup often list networking events you can attend. LinkedIn also regularly hosts virtual events that allow you to connect with professionals in your industry.

7. Become a Freelancer or Consultant

In an increasingly digital world, more and more professionals are choosing to step out of traditional employment and venture into the realm of freelancing or consulting. This path provides you with the freedom to work on your terms, pick projects that resonate with your interests, and potentially earn a higher income.

Freelancers and consultants often have the flexibility to set their rates. This means you can charge based on the value you bring to a project rather than accepting a fixed salary.

Furthermore, as a freelancer or consultant, you have the opportunity to work with multiple clients simultaneously, diversifying your income streams.

Here are a few things to consider if you're thinking about freelancing or consulting:

  1. Evaluate Your Skills: Do you have a skill set that's in demand? Can you offer the expertise that companies are willing to pay a premium for?
  2. Set Your Rates: Research what freelancers or consultants in your field are charging. Remember, your rates should reflect your experience, skills, and the value you provide.
  3. Market Yourself: Build a strong online presence. This could be through a personal website, a LinkedIn profile, or a portfolio on freelancing platforms.
  4. Network: Connect with potential clients and other freelancers. They can provide valuable advice, job leads, and support.

8. Keep Up with Market Trends

In an ever-evolving job market, staying informed about the latest trends can be a powerful tool in your quest for a higher salary. Understanding the current market trends, in-demand skills, and average salary scales in your industry can give you a competitive edge during job interviews and salary negotiations.

Staying aware of market trends allows you to anticipate changes, adapt your skills, and position yourself as a forward-thinking professional. Similarly, knowing the average salary scales for your role and industry can empower you to negotiate a salary that reflects your worth.

Here's how you can stay informed:

  1. Follow Industry News: Regularly read industry publications, newsletters, and blogs. This can help you stay updated about the latest developments in your field.
  2. Attend Webinars and Conferences: These events often discuss the latest trends and forecasts in various industries.
  3. Join Professional Networks: Professional networks can provide you with insights and firsthand experiences from other professionals in your field.

By staying informed about market trends and salary scales, you can better understand your value in the job market and confidently negotiate a salary that reflects your skills, experiences, and market trends. Remember, knowledge is power, and in this case, it can also mean a higher salary!

9. Get a Mentor

Navigating the career landscape can be a daunting task, and that's where a mentor comes in. A mentor can provide guidance, offer advice based on their experiences, and help you make informed decisions that could lead to career growth and, subsequently, a higher salary.

A mentor can provide you with valuable insights into the industry, help you identify opportunities, and guide you through challenges. They can also help you expand your professional network, improve your skills, and even advocate for you within your industry or organisation.

Finding the right mentor can be a game-changer in your career journey. Here's how you can find one:

  1. Identify Potential Mentors: Look for professionals in your field who have the experience and knowledge you admire. This could be a senior colleague, a leader in your industry, or even a professor or teacher.
  2. Reach Out: Send them a polite and professional message expressing your admiration for their work and your interest in learning from them. Be clear about why you're seeking mentorship.
  3. Build a Relationship: A mentor-mentee relationship should be beneficial for both parties. Be respectful of their time and be open to their feedback.
  4. Join Mentorship Programs: Many organisations and professional networks offer mentorship programs. These programs can match you with a mentor who aligns with your career goals.

A mentor can provide you with the tools and guidance you need to navigate your career and work towards a higher salary. Remember, mentorship is a two-way street, and your mentor can learn from you as much as you learn from them. So, don't hesitate to seek out a mentor and start learning from their experiences!

10. Get Educated

In many industries, a higher level of education can lead to a higher salary. Pursuing further education, such as an advanced degree or specialised courses, can help you deepen your knowledge, enhance your skills, and make you a more valuable asset to employers.

Further education can open the door to advanced roles that come with higher salaries. For example, many senior management and executive roles require an MBA or similar qualifications.

However, further education is a significant investment of time and resources, so it's essential to consider your career goals and the potential return on investment. Here's how you can explore further education opportunities:

  1. Identify Your Goals: What do you want to achieve with further education? A promotion? A career change? Identify your goals to guide your educational choices.
  2. Research Programs: Look for programs that align with your career goals. This could be an advanced degree, a professional certification, or online courses in a specific skill.
  3. Consider Online Learning: Online learning platforms like Coursera, Udemy, or EdX offer a wide range of courses and degrees that you can complete at your own pace.
  4. Seek Employer Support: Some employers offer tuition reimbursement programs or professional development support. Don't hesitate to ask your employer about such opportunities.

Wrapping It Up

We've navigated through a multitude of strategies to help you increase your salary, each one presenting a unique pathway to potentially boost your income. From improving your skills and getting certified to negotiating your salary and pursuing further education, these methods are stepping stones to achieving your financial goals.

To recap:

  1. Improve Your Skills: Stay relevant in your industry and invest in your professional development.
  2. Get Certified: Show your commitment and expertise in your field by earning relevant certifications.
  3. Negotiate Your Salary: Never shy away from advocating for your worth.
  4. Seek a Promotion: Take on more responsibilities to climb up the ladder.
  5. Change Your Job or Industry: Consider job hopping or changing industries for a potential salary increase.
  6. Network: Build professional relationships that could lead to better opportunities.
  7. Become a Freelancer or Consultant: Use your expertise to command higher rates.
  8. Keep Up with Market Trends: Stay informed to negotiate a competitive salary.
  9. Get a Mentor: Learn from those who've walked the path before you.
  10. Pursue Further Education: Invest in your education to qualify for higher-paying roles.

These strategies are not quick fixes but long-term investments in your career growth. They require time, effort, and dedication, but the potential rewards, both financially and professionally, are well worth it.

As a final call to action, we invite you to browse Bolt Jobs for opportunities in the further education and skills sector. Whether you're looking to advance in your current industry or pivot to a new one, Bolt Jobs is here to support your career growth.


1. What is the best way to increase my salary?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this as it can depend on many factors such as your current job, industry, skills, and experience. However, consistently improving your skills, seeking certifications, negotiating your salary, and pursuing further education are among the top strategies that can potentially increase your salary.

2. How do you politely ask for a salary increase?

When asking for a salary increase, it's important to be professional, respectful, and prepared. Gather evidence of your accomplishments and the value you've added to the company. Schedule a meeting with your manager to discuss your request, explain your reasons, and be ready to present your case with the evidence you've gathered.

3. How important is networking for salary growth?

Networking is crucial for career and salary growth. It can lead to new job opportunities, provide you with industry insights, and connect you with mentors or individuals who can help advance your career. Remember, it's not just about who you know, but who knows you. Your reputation in your network can significantly influence your career trajectory.

4. Does changing jobs often help increase salary?

While job hopping was once viewed negatively, it's becoming more common and can sometimes lead to higher salaries. When you change jobs, you often have the opportunity to negotiate a higher salary, especially if you're moving into a higher-level role or a more lucrative industry. However, it's important to balance this with the benefits of staying at one company for a longer period, such as potential promotions and raises, building a strong reputation, and gaining in-depth knowledge of the company and industry.

5. What types of certifications can help increase my salary?

The type of certification that might increase your salary depends on your industry and role. In tech, certifications in areas like cybersecurity, cloud computing, or project management can be beneficial. In finance, certifications such as CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) or CPA (Certified Public Accountant) can boost your earning potential. In education and training, a Master's in Education or specialized teaching certifications can be valuable.

6. Can networking online be as effective as networking in person?

Absolutely. While in-person networking has its unique benefits, online networking can be equally effective, and it allows you to connect with people beyond your geographical location. LinkedIn, industry-specific online forums and social media platforms can be powerful tools for building and maintaining your professional network.

Alex Lockey
Director | Bolt Jobs
Founder Alex Lockey is an expert in further education, learning, and skills sector. He leads cost-effective hiring solutions and is known for successful talent placements. Dynamic and driven, Alex seeks innovative solutions to solve sector hiring challenges.