Invest in yourself. Part 1 – Negotiating for career success

Mar 13, 2023

A series by

Alice Tang
Chief Operating Officer, MA Asset Management


At your last business function, did you introduce yourself by your work title, I am an Investment Analyst or an Operations Manager or other functional titles? While this may make it easy to explain your current role, if this is the only reference in describing your experience, are you pigeon-holing your capabilities and where you want to head to in your career?

Humans are naturally drawn to putting things into ‘buckets’ in order to make sense of the world, yet, using our functional title is limiting, particularly for women. Our careers have historically been less linear as many of us manage child raising years or carers’ responsibilities with employment. The ability to articulate our broad skills and experience to all employers is of critical importance.

My own career has not been linear, as seen from my linkedin profile: Having taken roles from front to back office and also moving from Sydney to Hong Kong, and back again, have instilled a number of lessons. Firstly, I need to ‘sell’ my transferable skills. This is pertinent to most of my roles, but particularly when I took on the role of Head of Credit in Wealth products when I had no direct experience in credit risk or wealth management products. I achieved this by demonstrating how my knowledge of risk management can be applied as business owner and a risk manager and I also talked to my team leadership and stakeholder management experience.

Secondly, I had a goal of securing a role at a salary which is progressive from my last role. By considering the value I will be adding to the role, I had greater confidence to negotiate. In today’s uncertain economic environment, it is particularly important to ‘back yourself’ as to what you can achieve in a role you are going for. Above all, keep in mind that your starting salary in a new organisation is the determining factor in the growth trajectory of your salary and negotiating for your skills and experience is therefore critical.

The third lesson I learned from my move is the importance of networking. According to most surveys, including this one, 85% of all jobs are filled through networking1. For those who do not enjoy networking, I have found volunteering or spearheading an employee network to naturally build supportive relationships outside my immediate team. Now that I am in a management position, I recognise staff members who take their initiatives and help us achieve greater collaboration. This may be an online games club or a sporting club.  This type of volunteering provides significant visibility. Personally, all four of the careers moves within my 16 years at Macquarie Group 2 (market cap of US$51.6bn) was based on either my own direct contact or an introduction.

I hope the above ideas provide actionable insights to you. Your call to action:

  1. Consider your ‘superpowers’ and the value you are currently adding exponentially to your company. Be prepared to negotiate with market-based evidence. Demonstrate and deliver this value consistently once you are in your role.
  2. For those who make recruitment decisions, recruit broadly rather than specific experience.
  3. Further recommendations:
    1. Range by David Epstein- on thinking about your skillset
    2. Salary negotiation tips: follow: Lousin Mehrabi on LinkedIn

About the author: I am a financial services executive with 25 years of experience in Asia and Australia. I believe in the power of education and the importance of taking on new challenges to fuel our personal growth. I am also passionate about the need for women to invest in our own financial security and independence.

In the second part of this series, we will focus on investing in your financial future. For the third instalment, we would like to interview fund managers who would like to share their personal investment journey. We are keen to get perspectives across asset classes, globally. Please reach out if you would like to share your investing insights  – I can be reached on or email at

Footnote 1:

Footnote: 2: ASX: MGQ as at 17th February 2023