Will below average pay hurt my job search?

Four years ago, I accepted an offer with a local firm as an auditor. The firm was pretty well known around the state, and they had some pretty big government accounts and local corporations as audit clients.

I accepted lower than average pay because I was desperate for a job and I didn't have any experience this firm actually provided a work life balance (most I ever worked was 50 hours a week even during "busy season", and they compensated any billable hour over 40).

Last year, this firm merged into a much larger firm, but the name is still pretty unrecognizable (it's a top 25 accounting firm, but it's low on that list.)

The pay stayed the same, but hours increased and perks disappeared. A lot of us brought this concern up to the managing partner, who just brushed them off. This caused ALL of our office's managers to quit, and now I want out too.

So here I am, a senior in public accounting, with below average pay. I'm not sure how recruiters and hiring managers guage experience, but if it's based on salary, they may just see me as a good fit for a staff accountant role…will this affect my chances of getting a senior type position outside of public? Should I even reveal my salary to recruiters? <strike>Should I lie?</strike>

 

 

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