Negotiating a Salary in Canada

My first job paid me close to 40% higher than I was expecting from my first job in Canada.

5 years and two promotions later, every increment and bonus I’ve had since then has been a percentage anchored to that first salary.

I owe a big part of my lifestyle today to that higher-than-average starting salary. I wouldn’t have been able to afford a house, or plan vacations back to visit the family and friends I left behind.

We tend to get so caught up in getting the job offer, talking about our skills and experience during the interview.

We sometimes tend to forget that what we say during the salary negotiation will impact our lifestyle for our entire tenure with that company.

Then we’ll be wondering why new colleagues, who do the exact same job as us, may be making more than us. Most likely, it’s because they had the guts to talk their way to a better deal.

In Canada, negotiating your salary is an expectation from the recruiter. In fact, some career experts have even stated that not engaging in a negotiation reflects badly on you.

Because if you’re not willing to have this uncomfortable conversation for something that benefits you, you may not have those “negotiation skills” you mentioned in your resumé – a skill that is needed for the job!

So how do you negotiate your salary without feeling awkward or nervous?

First of all, bear in mind a salary negotiation is expected from the candidate, and will not compromise the offer. In the unlikely event it does, I would question whether I’d want to work for a company that would do something so unprofessional.

Make sure you know two things:

  1. The average salary range for this position – a Google search with title and location will show you this
  2. +10% higher from this value
  3. Your walk away value

You goal is to get the average salary or higher.

If you’re asked for your salary expectation during the interview, you provide a range, that starts from the average salary and goes up +10%.

But you also mention that you are willing to be flexible and negotiate a value both parties can agree on, leaving that door open.

When the offer is extended to you, if it’s within this range, it’s a fair deal.

But this is not usually the case. They will always try to low ball the figure because they are expecting you to negotiate upwards.

Knowing this, you should be able to feel comfortable asking for what you deserve.