This article can also be seen on the job blog section at http://www.andrewlad.com
A number of factors control how much people get paid in a given industry, including:
How many people want work in the industry
How easy or difficult it is to find people to do the jobs
How identifiable the skill-sets are
How much money the companies generally make
How specialist the jobs are
How difficult / enjoyable the jobs are
I think the greatest thing you can do to make yourself more employable and ensure you get paid better is to make sure you have some niche skill-set or knowledge which is both in demand, and that not many people have. This could be anything, such as….
You have experience with specialist IT Software / Systems
You know a lot about something that very few people know about
You can run a process or do a job that not many people do (How difficult is it to find a good plumber in London? And hence they get paid very well)
Try to avoid getting into the generic careers which have very transferable skill-sets and where it isn’t difficult to find people (such as customer service / call-centers). If it is easy to find new people and easy to train new joiners, you won’t be able to demand pay rises as easily, as what separates you from the others? When I was Headhunting people in London, there was a bank who would hire anyone who has experience with a back-office banking software. I found 4 people in a 6-month time frame and they hired all 4 of them.
When you sit in the interview and they ask you the ‘Why should we hire you?’ question, if you can give real examples of the above bullet points, this will put you in a far stronger position. Keep abreast with updates in industries you are interested in working in, and try to identify the important niche skill-sets associated in these industries.
Andrew @ AndrewLad.com