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I'm in the UK and I've been working in a pensions consultancy as an actuarial analyst for 5 months. This is all the corporate experience I have, as I graduated in 2020 and previous positions are less relevant (maths tutor, coach, etc.). Upon graduating, I wanted to pursue an actuarial career in insurance, but due to the job market and my resume (no internships/relevant experience, only a 1st from a top 50 uni in Mathematics), it was hard to land a good job. I managed to secure a position in pensions, but it has always been my goal to move into insurance, ideally life insurance.

For the last month I have been getting in contact with recruiters and looking and relevant roles on linkedin, and after a few applications I got an interview at a life insurer. The role was advertised on linkedin as £30,000 - £40,000. I am currently earning £28,000 (after I receive my exam results in July this should bump up to £30,000). At the end of the interview I was asked what my salary expectations were for HR reasons, and I said 35k-40k.

Aside from the video interview, all contact with the company has been with someone from HR. He got in contact with me Friday afternoon saying that I have been invited to a second interview as the actuaries felt that I gave a good account of my knowledge and skills as well as my personality. However, he also added in the email that the salary will be "in/around the £30k ballpark", and wanted to clear that up before things were taken further.

The benefits aside from the salary will be similar (study support, pension, etc) to what I currently have. I do not want to change jobs sideways for a miniscule increment, but I do want to get into insurance and start to receive valuable experience as soon as possible. I'm not sure how to best respond to the email saying that I really like the role and company, but I won't move for less than £35k without coming off as rude or harsh.

TL;DR: I want to change roles to a better industry but the pay offered is not what I asked for in the interview.

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  • What is EL stand for ? – Fattie May 9 at 13:31
  • Entry level, basically no experience – Ricky F May 9 at 13:34
  • I've answered your literal question(s) in an answer below. But as an XY problem, for me it seems like you should jump at this chance. As I understand it, your current job is basically "nothing", it's not the field you want to be in and is adding nothing to your life, except eating up weeks. As I understand it the new job discussed, will in fact be your "first job" (in your actual field). In every case for everyone, your "first job" pays suck. (Be lucky you're not a programmer. As often discussed here, "first jobs" for programmers pay basically nothing!) Enjoy your "first job" – Fattie May 9 at 13:38
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TL;DR: I want to change roles to a better industry but the pay offered is not what I asked for in the interview.

You want two things at the same time which puts some serious constraints on your search. You will have to decide on priorities here.

"30k ballpark" means that it's likely to be less than 35K but there is some room for negotiation so best guess this will end up at 32k-33k or thereabouts. That's still almost 20% better than your current salary.

Given that you have very little work experience (maybe one year or so) a drastic bump in salary feels like an unrealistic expectation.

So you have to make a decision here: look for jobs that pay way more money than your current gig OR look for jobs that are in the industry you want to be in. Doing both at the same time will be very difficult.

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The answer is almost certainly "you can't", at least for this role. Your potential employer has made it clear what your salary is likely to be, and that doesn't meet your requirements. Best you can do is to say "thank you, but I'm not prepared to move for a salary of less than £35k" (or whatever your limit is) and move onto the next role.

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If you actually want the 35, forget it and walk away.

In your life you'll be offered or discuss, say, 50 - 150 jobs.

In perhaps one-third of cases, it will be a lowball offer.

In those 1/3 of case, forget it and walk away.


Regarding your language question,

I'm not sure how to best respond to the email saying that I really like the role and company, but I won't move for less than £35k without coming off as rude or harsh.

During your career, if you can't, simply, state your side in everyday salary negotiations, you're doomed!

Here's the language you need,

Dear Steve, thank you so much. As you know I am thrilled about every aspect of your company. I am seeking a 35k-40k salary at this time.

Rude, harsh etc does not enter in to it. Like everything else in life just state it plainly and simply and politely.

Imagine you are asking where the toilet is - use the same tone and language. Best of luck.

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