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When should you receive a fully qualified salary?

When should you receive a fully qualified salary?

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Hi everybody.

Just looking for some advice and wondered if any of you could give me your wisdom.

I passed my final exams in June and received an email from the ACCA last week stating that my application for membership is complete and will receive my certificate in the next few weeks, woohoo!

I was promoted to Financial Accountant in March prior to passing my exams and given a £3k payrise taking me to £30k.  I discussed with our FD at the time about it being increased on full qualification as that was the below the market average in Scotland for NQ's, currently 35k-40k. I got this (a) from various jobs that I've seen and (b) Hay's Recrutiment Agency produce a salary guide every year and this too is what they quote for NQ's in Scotland. I live and work in Glasgow.

I have since been informed from the powers above that no payrise is allowable as I am no better an employee with the qualification than without and a pay rise should be on merit.

My question therefore, in a nutshell, is when should I expect to get a fully qualified salary, as I am currently way below it?

Just wondered what you all thought and when you got your increase on qualification and how you got it, if  you got one at all. I know a lot of people have to move to get their worth, which is upsetting as I love my job, my company and my colleagues but needs must.

Thanks all


Replies (8)

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By Sarah Offord
23rd Sep 2013 14:41

Been there, got the T Shirt

I remember many years a go having a similar conversation with my boss when I worked in industry. He was very adamant that a payrise would be based on experience, years of service and not qualifications (he was attempting to explain to me why I was receiving a salary £10k lower than my male colleague who was doing exactly the same job, the same CIMA level as me but had been with the company 5 years longer and was 10 years my senior).

I explained to him that if I were to apply externally for a job I would receive a significant increase in my salary straight away, so what was my motivation for staying?

Speaking later to a middle manager in the company, he confided that he had forced the employer's hand by applying for and receiving an offer for a job with a much better salary. Explaining this to his line manager, he received a payrise and didn't need to leave his job after all.

I did exactly the same, received a job offer earning £9k more than my current salary. When I told my boss he pulled a few strings and I got a £6k payrise. I stayed because I liked the company and the people I was working with.

It's not how it should be and I did this before the economic downturn and before starting a family so I could afford to take a risk. Unfortunately I think it is still the case that most employers will not authorise a payrise unless they are being effectively held to ransom.

Best of luck!



Thanks (1)
By johngroganjga
23rd Sep 2013 14:42

What your employers are missing is your increased marketability resulting from having the letters after your name.  They are right that there is not a sudden spurt in your ability when you receive your certificate.  You are just as good an accountant on the day before you receive your results as you are on the day after.

More astute employers recognise the increase in the marketability of the staff they want to keep as soon as the exam results are known.

You may need to test the market to get the salary you think you deserve.  In the meantime another interview with your FD may do no harm.

Thanks (2)
By Roland195
23rd Sep 2013 14:52


£35/40k is likely no-where near the actual average salary payed to an NQ either in industry or practice. The Hays guide is not produced for this purpose - seriously, go see what sort of offers you would get through Hays then point out the disparity and see what happens.  

Thanks (2)
By MissAccounting
23rd Sep 2013 15:00

Seems high

£35-40k seems high to me but usually the only way people get that bumper pay rise after qualifying is to move jobs.  Just watch out for any tie in with your current employer to repay any study support they have paid for you as I once had a colleague move for £3k per year more but ended up with a bill for £4.5k for all the study expenses etc from the firm he was leaving!  He wished he had read his contract in a little more detail that day!

Thanks (3)
By Ding Dong
23rd Sep 2013 15:10

some exceptions

I left my former employer (practice) a few years ago - back then newly qualified salary went to £35k on passing final exams - provided the member of staff was "any good"

That said though, they all were as they were very strict, if they felt after 12 months someone was never going to "cut the mustard" they were out pronto. 

A reasonably high staff turnover rate but it did mean they only had good staff (hence they paid well!)

(I must have had them fooled though as I was there a few years!)

Thanks (1)
By Ken Howard
23rd Sep 2013 15:34

No such thing as a "fully qualified salary"

Every job is unique and will require different skillsets.  That's why there's a massive range in the salary & benefits scale for each level of accountancy staff.  In fact, some will be paid at least twice more than others.  Just being "qualified" doesn't make you better at a particular job or doesn't automatically mean you can do a job that someone without a professional qualification can't do.  At the end of the day, it's a matter of free market economics.  If they can find someone cheaper to do the job just as well, then that's what they'd want to do.  Likewise, you are free to apply for other jobs which you feel are more suited to your abilities, work experience, qualifications and salary expectations.  Hopefully, you and your employer can come to a compromise - if not, then you'll have to grin & bear it or move elsewhere.

Thanks (1)
By Maslins
23rd Sep 2013 16:18

There's no obligation for your employer to pay you a certain salary at any stage of your training/afterwards.

I'd suggest you've done the right thing by flagging to them that you'd like more.  Unfortunately they've said no, so your next step is to either take it on the chin if you love it where you are, or look for other jobs.

Be aware that your employer could be in one of two camps:

1) they have plenty of staff at your level and/or they don't rate you very highly, so they're trying to encourage you to leave.

2) they're playing chicken with you, hoping you won't have the guts to get another job.  If this is the case, you may well find upon telling them you're leaving, they manage to find an extra few thousand to match the offer.  Up to you whether you tell them to stick it at that point.

In a firm I used to work for, one guy who knew he was good used to get a job offer every 6 months or so and take it into the staff partner, knowing they'd match the offer as they didn't want to lose him.  Risky game to play though!

Thanks (2)
By query
23rd Sep 2013 16:50

you should apply elsewhere and get that £35k-40k offer

then go back to your employer and say you're moving unless they match it


your employer take advantage of people like you otherwise


what you're fighting for is what they probably spent on a golden handshake for someone in senior management


if you're not willing to take a calculated risk then you don't deserve a payrise

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