4 Times You Should Take a Job With a Pay Cut, According to a Career Strategist

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Punya Sandhu301
10 yrs in Big4 Consulting, Founder - BYONDGOOD
April 17, 2024 at 6:15AM UTC

I’ve changed 8 jobs and worked in 6 countries as part of a 21 year corporate career. If you’re in two minds about taking a job with a pay cut, here are the top 4 reasons why you should go for it.

1. When you’re exploring a new career.

When you want to enter a new field it isn’t always straightforward to position your previous experience to fit the new job profile and showcase your value to the employer. You may be offered a position that seems beneath your level of expertise. 

In this case, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What of this new role had the potential to skyrocket your career?
  • Would you be adding to your skills and experience? 
  • Would this opportunity help you expand your network?

When I completed my MBA, I had 2 options in front of me. One was exactly the same role I had been doing in my previous career of 8 years and the other was Management Consulting. Even though I had to start from the bottom of the ladder, I loved the learning curve, and till date that has been the best career move I ever made. I loved Consulting so much that I now coach new and aspiring Consultants in their careers through my courses, private coaching, and blog at www.byondgood.com

Sometimes you just need to take a step back to take a leap forward in your career.

2. When you’re changing countries.

Changing countries can be quite complex - whether you’re doing it for personal or professional reasons. Add to it the visa considerations and it can put a spin on the best-laid plans.

I once took an internship role at an Asset management firm in Germany, only to try it on for size. I asked myself the same 3 questions above. The money was much lower than the Manager role I had earned after working for 5 years, but the challenge and learning experience, not to mention living in a different country, was amazing!

3. When you’re getting back in the job market.

Many parents take a break when their kids are little. For some, months may become years and that is perfectly OK. Hiring managers, though, prefer candidates that have been active in their careers because they are more likely to have momentum and be more ‘in touch' with the job market.

In such cases, getting a foot in the door should be your number one priority. It is perfectly fine to discuss this with your interviewer as well. Once you get that chance and prove your worth, you can negotiate a better raise, apply for a more senior position internally or even look for an external opportunity.

4. When it's a personal reason.

I’ve always prioritized my personal life over my career because it makes me happy. 

I moved cities when I married my husband. Another time was when my husband got a job in the U.S. and I decided to move with him from India. I really had to work my network to get an interview at a top Consulting firm in the U.S. 

Six rounds of interviews and finally the offer was mine! 

Was the money at par with what a U.S. candidate would have received? Definitely not. 

But this new role had the potential to skyrocket my career, would add to my skills and experience, and definitely expand my network.

It was the best opportunity for my career at the time and I grabbed it with both hands. 

Whether you’re moving to take care of a loved one, for your kids' education or to be close to the ones you love, it is absolutely worth the pay cut!


This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Punya is a former management consultant with 15 years of experience at 2 Big4 firms, serving top Fortune500 clients. She has lived and worked in six countries and changed three careers working across several industries. Punya is passionate about sharing the crucial, but little-known business skills that can help you stop playing small, land the most high-profile projects, and build a reputation that gets you the recognition you deserve. Find her on the BYOND GOOD Blog or write to her at [email protected].

What’s your no. 1 piece for someone thinking about taking a pay cut? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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