Negotiating Your Wage: Employees

Canadians are facing soaring inflation, rising food and gas prices, as well as higher borrowing interest rates, so it’s no wonder compensation is at the top of most workers’ minds. To top it off, the labour shortage has forced some workers to take on more duties to make up for their missing team members, resulting in burnout. It’s not all bad news though! The labour shortage can be seen as an opportunity for negotiating a higher wage. Before you ask for a raise, there are some things you can do to prepare yourself in feeling confident going into a meeting with your employer.  

Know what your time is worth  

Do some research by averaging how much your position makes within the industry and region you work in. There are many great online resources like BC Job Bank, which has an online wage and trend analyzer for positions all over Canada. If your position can be done in different sectors, check to see how much each sector pays. Getting a wage increase is great, but you could also consider asking for benefits or perks. Perks could be extra vacation days, flexible hours, a work-from-home hybrid schedule or professional development. Understanding your labour market value will help you make an informed decision and define a wage increase that you are comfortable with receiving. 

Show them why you deserve a raise  

You’ve accomplished some great things at work, so now it’s time to brag about it! You can do this by creating a “showcase” sheet of your performance and achievements. This showcase sheet will describe accomplishments, awards, professional development and even testimonials from clients. This document will not only show your value to the company but will be great to reference during your meeting with your employer.  

Practice your conversation 

Talking about money can be uncomfortable, especially when you are advocating for yourself to your employer. Try to ease some of that anxiety by practicing your pitch. Now that you have a great ‘showcase sheet’ you’ll be better prepared to talk about your key accomplishments at work. Practice in front of the mirror so you can watch your body language, and with your family or friends so you can get feedback. The person you’re practicing with could also pretend to be your employer and ask questions that may come up during the meeting. 

Get your timing right 

There is never a perfect time to ask for a raise but try not to ask if your manager is in a hurry or right after they get back from a vacation. It’s usually a good time if you’ve recently done something that made you stand out, you or know your employer has the time. It may also be good to wait until the end of the week, like a Thursday or Friday, so your manager can have time to process your request over the weekend.  

Be confident in the meeting  

You’re now ready for the raise meeting, it’s time to walk in with confidence! When you are explaining your request, try to use power statements like “I have achieved”, “I have supported” or “I have initiated” instead of “I feel like” and “I believe”, statements. Explain all the contributions you’ve made and reference the showcase sheet you previously put together. You should also be prepared for possible pushback and be prepared that the answer to receiving a raise could be ‘no.’ If that is the case, you can consider asking again later or investigate a better opportunity. 

Get it in writing  

Congratulations you got your raise! Make sure to get your new wage rate in writing including the effective start date of the raise and any other updated terms of your employment.