5 Attributes Which Increase Your Paycheck

By Beth Leslie

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1) A Degree

Even with the tuition fee increase, getting a degree is still a good deal: graduates earn £100,000 more over their lifetime than non-graduates. Certain types of degree – primarily in STEM subjects – could increase that earning disparity to a whopping £500,000. Graduates find it easier to get a job, too – they’re more likely to be employed and more likely to work in a high-skill role.  

There is something better than having a degree, though… having two degrees! Postgraduates earn a yearly premium of £200,000 over their graduate counterparts. (In the US, that premium is twice as much).  

With goodies like this on offer, it’s probably worth placing a bulk order for oven pizzas, brushing up on your beer pong skills and heading back to school.


2) Being Bilingual

If you fancy a bit more ? in your salaire then a good way to go about it is by brushing up on your language skills. A second language boosts your annual paycheck by 2% which translates into a cool $67,000 extra over your lifetime. And that’s just the average – speakers of the die deutsche Sprache will double that to earn an extra $128,000.

For careers where a foreign language is particularly useful, the pay-out can be even greater. Members of the U.S. military who are fluent in anything other than English, for example, can earn an extra $1,000 every month. Sehr gut!


3) Strong IT Skills

PayScale recently surveyed the top pay-boosting work skills. Of the top ten, all but two were IT skills.

These days, the single best way to boost your salary is by learning to code. One of the coding languages, Scala, tops PayScale's list and will increase your salary by a huge 22.2%. The subsequent job offers for techies who went to a coding bootcamp paid 44% higher than they were earning before.

Not mathematical? Creatives can benefit from strong IT skills too – understanding Adobe Illustrator increases your pay 3.7%, Adobe Photoshop 3.2%, and Adobe InDesign 8.5%.


4) Earning a Certification

Want to earn more money doing the job you already do? Earn a certification! Available for many different industries, gaining a certification can increase your pay packet by anything from 10% to 35%. Even better, many can be done online and part-time, so you don’t have to go back to school to earn one.

Certifications may teach you new skills, or they may simply validate the ones you already have. Either way, you’ll stand out to employers when hunting for new jobs.


5) Being a Man

Having the luck to be born with a Y chromosome means that you can expect to earn a cool 13.9% more than your female counterparts over a lifetime. This is an average – the disparity is far wider for older women, BME women, women in skilled-trade occupations and women who are successful high-earners.

Pay discrimination is complex. Some of it can be attributed to the gender stereotypes that make women more likely to be primary caregivers and work in lower paid occupations. But 38% of the difference is pure sexism – for the same role and the same responsibilities, a man will get paid more just because he is a man.

The 10th November is Equal Pay Day. Equal Pay Day marks the day that the gender pay gap means women effectively stop getting paid. Several businesses are raising awareness by allowing female employees to leave 18% earlier than their male counterparts. You can support that initiative here.



Beth Leslie writes graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency specialising in matching candidates to their dream internship. Check out their graduate jobs London listings for roles or, if you’re looking to hire an intern, have a look at their innovative Video CVs.


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