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Should I take a pay cut to secure employment?

Posted 20 days ago by Sally Sephton
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Our recent survey into the candidate market found that 43.02% of candidates would be willing to take a pay cut to either secure or maintain employment, with the majority willing to take a cut of between 1-5%.

With nearly a fifth of UK businesses asking staff to take a pay cut to secure the firm’s financial position and stave off redundancies, it is right to question your legal rights as an employee and if searching for work, whether reducing your salary expectations will make your more competitive in the market.

I’m looking for employment, should I take a pay cut to improve my chances?

With less jobs available in the market and the volume of job seekers increasing, it is right to view the market as being more competitive.

However, this does not mean you should feel the need to take a substantial pay cut to secure work. In fact, being willing to do this is likely to lessen your chances of gaining employment.

In recent weeks we have seen news articles and Linkedin stories about candidates applying for 100+ jobs and getting little to no return for their efforts.

This is likely to be due to applicants being overqualified or not appropriate for the role they are applying for (with some managerial level candidates applying for entry-level roles), which reduces their attractiveness to prospective employers.

What about a small pay cut?

For the reason outlined above, we do not recommend candidates apply for roles which are significantly lower than their current/previous salary. However, applying some space for movement may be a good idea depending on the company/role you are applying for.

In the post Covid-19 market it would be wise to consider the position of the company you are applying for prior to setting expectations regarding salary. If applying for a sector which has not performed well, for instance some hospitality, leisure and entertainment industries, then it may be wise to consider taking a minor cut of between £1,000 - £3,000 a year (at least for the immediate period), anything significantly outside of this bracket may be a job which was not intended for your skillset.

If you are debating changing sectors or industries then a similar scenario may apply as you are likely to need some training and career development in order to progress and perform. However, it is vital you do not devalue any transferable skills you have by applying for entry-level positions.

If you are applying for roles within a similar salary bracket to your current or old company and are struggling to get noticed by employers, we advise you to consider whether you are taking a quality or quantity approach in your job search. Alternatively, if you are looking for ways to standout in the market which do not involve a pay cut perhaps consider how you can adapt your applications to show your talents.


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