What is your Salary expectation & how to negotiate?

Updated: 6 days ago

Salary negotiating is hard without knowing the figures in advance. Negotiation works the best when you know about supply and demand. Negotiation strategy depends on the personal situation. Career professionals who have years of experience would have proven records to highlight past experiences and results.

Newcomers or Immigrants moving to Canada might shy away from salary negotiating due to confidence or not knowing their worth in a new market. It is important to know your worth by doing research way in advance. Confidence is the key when negotiating the salary backed by research and your past accomplishments with the data. The answer is always NO if you don't ask!

A recent study published on February 19th, 2021 by Stanford University states that women are paid less than their counterparts as early as they start a position in entry-level by $4000. It continues as women rise through the promotion ladder. This issue is more prevalent in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The shocking truth is that in some positions, women are paid almost $20000 less than their male counterparts for the same type of work that they perform.

Backed by a grant from the National Science Foundation, the researchers surveyed 559 engineering and computer science students who graduated from more than two dozen U.S. institutions between 2015 and 2017. They found that women earned $61,000 in their first jobs compared to $65,000 for men, despite having the same degrees and grade point averages. According to the subjects’ answers to questions about their capabilities, the researchers concluded that 2% of the pay gap between men and women could be explained by a gap in self-confidence.

Women who chair clinical departments at public medical schools are paid an average of 88 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, or about $70,000 to $80,000 less per year, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and UC San Francisco report.

The disparity remains regardless of the women’s academic productivity, specialization and years on the job.

What are the steps before salary negotiations?

  • Know the range of salary you are targeting. Check online if your expectation is realistic

  • Consider location, cost of living, titles, job description, experience, education, certificates, shift work, etc. Check the cost of living in Canada here.

  • You are responsible for knowing your worth, don't let anyone put the price tag on you

  • You need to pre-screen the employers and recruiters with clear expectations, this is why having a range helps you to weed out unwarranted job leads

  • Watch out for Imposter syndrome and low self-esteem which directly impacts the confidence to negotiate

  • Apply for the job which meets your expectation, just because you are highly qualified. The company might not pay you higher for being overqualified, especially when a job is advertised as a junior role

  • Consider benefit packages such as signing bonus, yearly STIP bonus, RSP, stocks, bonds, parking, personal leave, vacation days, cell phone monthly cost, Internet, toll transponder, mileage, gas etc.

  • Research in advance, sometimes informational interviews help to identify about the perks company offers

  • Talk to a group of people within the same industry to check on other perks, vacation, benefits, paid sick leave, relocation package, etc.

  • What is the absolute must-have and what is nice to have?

  • Are you willing to walk away if the employer is not willing to move on with your request?

  • What is at the stake, are there any other offers on the table, how confident are you that you will have another job soon

  • It is all about ironing out the pros and cons of negotiating

  • Know your worth and be ready to explain about accomplishments you would bring to the new role

  • Never use the personal situation for salary negotiation i.e. bills, loans, family, seniority etc.

  • Plan and practice your pitch before the job offer

  • Don’t drag negotiations for days. Either take the offer or leave on the good terms

When they ask, What is your salary expectation?

Usually, the salary expectation is prescreening questions to determine the right fit. You should be confident to address the salary expectation questions. Employers have a budget allocated for each title and they need to hire the right talent sticking to the budget. If you have niche expertise with less supply and more demand, employers might offer higher than the predetermined salary range. Be prepared to sell your skills!

Use one of the following approaches:

• Defer by saying "I’m sure we will be discussing salary expectations as we get further along in our conversations. First, you have to find if you are even the right fit for the company. Go through the stage of interviews."

Note: The only time you are deferring the question will be when you know how much they potentially offer for the role you are applying for or you will be okay with the offer.

Unionized and public sectors usually don't negotiate the salary and include salary info on the job posting.

• Give range to recruiters so that they could target the right employer. Never provide your past salary information. Let them know what you are targeting and be clear with the range. " Here is what I am targeting to switch"

•If the employer or recruiter reached out to you ask the question back

To Employers “What is your range of pay currently for the same role and what other benefits do you provide"

To External Recruiters " Have you recruited for a similar role within that company, what is your client's range and total compensation package?" then wait until they provide the information. If the range falls within your expectation confirm you are interested and advise salary is negotiable after going through the final stage.

•Research and understand the market rate for the position prior, and present that in a salary range, (e.g., My research outlined the market rate for this position would be $60–80K; I would fall on the higher range, if an offer was extended in that range, I’m sure we could look into total compensation package further when the right time comes".

The total compensation package is overall $$ gross income with perks and benefits. Focus on the bigger picture instead of salary.

Don’t want to provide range yet and want to take on the role at any cost because of an employer’s brand?

Say ” This is too early for me to answer, without going through the interview process. Salary is negotiable based on the total compensation package. I am sure your company has a fair compensation package based on the market rate. Could you provide me with the breakdown?"

Note: There are compliance and audit in place for the company. A corporation can't pay you lower than the salary band based on the title.

Can an employer pay less for the same job?

You are entitled to the same pay as anyone doing the same or similar job, or a job of equal value, regardless of gender or disabilities. If your employer is not treating you equally, they are breaking the law.

Links for Researching the salary online












How to negotiate?

Use the If and then approach for salary negotiations, take a look at the script on the video with an example.

  1. Take your time to rethink an offer, never accept a verbal on-the-spot offer, ask them to send emails with all the details for further review

  2. Thank them for the offer and use the right approach to go back for a counteroffer, either by providing the range or asking them to revisit certain section of the total compensation package

  3. Having multiple offers helps you to ease the counteroffer and give a sense of urgency for employers to either match or beat the offer

  4. If possible, provide the link of an exact or similar jobs which includes the salary information based on the market rate. Be proactive with the information to get the buy-in from employers

  5. Look at the start date, is there a sense of urgency?

  6. Find out a couple of things to understand how hard is it to fill the role. How long was the role vacant? is this a new role? what happened to the previous employee? do they have a similar type of role already? will you have to figure out and fix problems or is there training provided?

  7. Based on number 5, the workload pending from the vacant role provides a signal that the employer would want you as soon as possible or not, shows how desperate they are to get the right talent

  8. Try to wait for a couple of days before sending the proposal, job offer has an expiry date, don’t wait until the last day

  9. The preferred method of contact should be a phone or in-person to make it more meaningful and professional (video meetings should be ok).

  10. You can request the meeting through e-mail but ongoing communication should not be through e-mail

  11. Look beyond the pay-cheque and money. Factor in work-life balance, hours of work, benefits, bonus and vacation days.

  12. Never threaten to walk away or bring what another employee in the same role is making within the company

  13. Don’t take it personally, take the emotion out and bring data to validate your worth, thank them later for reviewing your proposal

  14. It is always better to put the proposal in writing and follow up on a phone call

  15. Be calm and collective when negotiating not demanding, listen before assuming

  16. Bring the fact such as the quantitative data from the past and provide evidence

  17. Ask to revisit the salary in 3 to 6 months again ( bring your accomplishment with you)

  18. Request to have performance appraisal in 3-6 months after probation to review salary and bonus

  19. Request to revisit the title closer to your future goals, for example, Quality associate to Quality Analyst. Data Clerk to Data Analyst

  20. Most companies provide prorated vacation, bonus or perks, based on the number of years you complete with employers using the start date. Ask for eliminating prorated perks.

  • For example, you could get a bonus based on the full year even if you are not eligible.

  • Instead of eligible 3 weeks of vacation ask for 4 weeks

  • Ask for benefits to start right away instead of 3 months

  • Most companies have a yearly review to go over metrics and reevaluate the salary, you can ask to review salary along with other staff at the same time, especially if you have only 3 months of tenure. You don't want to wait another year to evaluate the salary.

Note: Pick the right time and the day. Monday is usually busy, Thursday and Friday might be more relaxing.

Book consulting for salary negotiation!

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