Young Canadians are facing rising rents and mortgage costs on top of higher grocery and gas bills – and for those on the job hunt, negotiating a higher salary is likely to be front of mind.
That’s why Devon Turcotte, a career adviser for generation Z and millennial job seekers at Careerified, always advises candidates to figure out what their weekly or monthly budget is, including what they want to be saving or investing, before they even start their job search.
When it comes to the job search itself, she tells clients that it’s not unusual for employers to be approved for a budget up to 20 or 30 per cent more than the stated salary range in a job posting.
While many candidates skip the negotiation process out of discomfort, making an effort to negotiate is always good practice whether it helps candidates receive higher earnings or just build more confidence in starting these conversations.
The key to negotiation is to do your research in advance, said Jafar Owainati, co-founder and CEO of Toronto-based Barley, a compensation management software company.
But when looking for comparable salaries, be careful where you’re finding your data. When it comes to resources like Glassdoor and LinkedIn, Owainati said that the way that data is crowdsourced may work to your detriment.
“My observations over the last couple of years has been that some of those free online resources are actually listing salaries that are lower than what companies are willing to pay,” he said.
Owainati said those organizations typically use paid and organized formal salary data based on the aggregation of employment information across a bunch of different companies.
For a better idea of salary ranges, Owainati recommends sites like teamblind.com and levels.fyi for tech jobs and repvue.com for sales positions. These can empower candidates to be more informed of what may be out there in the market, he said.
Owainati also suggests connecting with people at other companies with similar roles, such as through LinkedIn. If you’re comfortable, you can ask for a general idea of what you might expect from a role at their level.
When it comes to negotiations, many candidates are looking beyond salary to instead create an optimal work situation for themselves, such as greater work-life balance, Turcotte said.
Negotiations can include discussions on paid time off, remote or hybrid work or earlier or later starting hours, she said. Candidates may also negotiate for professional development funds or a different job title. The latter comes in handy for those looking to play the long game and easily move to higher level jobs later on, she said.
The negotiations, whether successful or not, don’t always end at the hiring stage. To prepare for further negotiations down the road, Turcotte advises clients to keep a brag file as soon as they start a new job. This brag file should be a place to track your progress and note where you’re making an impact both externally and internally.
“Keeping track of those things means that you’ll have evidence to show when there are opportunities to revisit the negotiation conversation,” she said.
That might be at the end of your probationary period, an annual review, when you’ve completed a project or the company just had a successful quarter, she said.
When you would like to reopen the conversation about compensation, you’ll be able to talk about how your contributions are helping the organization grow or meet their goals.