There have been lots of debates recently on social media on the subject matter of “Salary vs. Experience”. From a Nigerian context, people often prefer higher salary than a better quality work experience because of how expensive living expenditures are. However, few individuals will actually settle for lower wages and better experience as well as an organisation with higher growth rate or pedigree. So why choose a higher experience/growth job over a better salary?
Salary cannot be disregarded as not being important especially if you have responsibilities such as rent, bills, children’s school fees and other miscellaneous expenditures to pay for. On the other hand, if you are in the early stage/twilight of your industry career ladder, better quality experience should be more important for both your personal and professional growth.
For example, a new graduate with little or no experience should disregard salary initially as experience is more imperative to getting your foot in the door. I’m sure as a student, you were used to living on the bare minimum, it’s only for a short time. Remember that you need the firm more than they need you, just focus on moving up the career ladder.
I often hear successful professionals speak about how they were the errand boy or girl in the first ever organisation they worked in, but through perseverance and hard work, they are where they are today.
Make sure you have a vision and focus which will guide you towards career fulfillment. A firm which provides better quality experience will bring about functional experience depending on the nature of the organisation.
Moving forward, before choosing experience over salary, do ask yourself the following questions:
- Create a Personal survival budget including living/feeding expenses and savings to see if you can manage and for how long.
- Estimate commute time and mobility expenditure, is it worth the hassle especially if you are earning a low income?
- How old are you and what are your responsibilities/priorities? Are you the breadwinner of the family everyone depends on?
- What other benefits do they offer to compensate for the small salary such as HMO, Pension, Lunch, Mobility Allowance, Telecoms Allowance and others?
- What stage are you in your career as well as how many years of experience? Or are you a young professional or an experienced professional?
- What is your Job description? Is the firm offering you quality and quantity of experience which will elevate you faster on the career ladder?
- Do your care more about short-term compensation or long term gratification?
- Are you more focused on your short term or long term Career plan considering your interests and immediate needs/wants such as career/family stability?
- Does the organisational culture align with your personal/professional values?
- What is the pedigree of this organisation as it might add extra value? Is it a multinational with head offices in the central cities worldwide or a national firm with operations across the country? Are they well known and with a good reputation? What other benefits do they offer, such as high growth rate and recognition? Are they one of the high growth firms in Technology, FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) and others?
- Would you get a holistic experience to learn widely across various departments or job roles?
- Does the salary being offered match up to the industry market value or is it very unrealistic and demeaning?
- Do you have an Achievement gap you need to fill? – what skills do you need within the industry that this organisation can provide especially with no additional cost on your part such as training fee?
- What matters to you more – a stressful job with little experience/salary or a fun/fulfilling job with low pay but with quality experience?
- Are you changing careers or working in a new country with no record of work experience within it?
On a final note, when Nigeria gets better, it will bring about better opportunities but in the meantime, do evaluate offers carefully before saying yes. For the majority of us, Money is motivation. However, please choose wisely.
It is true that as we mature, more emphasis is placed on doing a job we enjoy, and that is self-fulfilling than earning a higher salary and getting bored with it.
Do remember that quality and quantity of experience will help elevate you faster on the career ladder.
High salary and little experience might result in being jobless for a longer time if unfortunate to lose employment.