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Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


Wage growth in Canada continues to be stubbornly low, yet on a personal level, you are doing all you can and feel your contribution significantly adds to your company’s bottom line. But you feel undervalued and under-compensated. Is it time to ask for a raise? Maybe.

A recent poll asked how confident people were asking their employer for a raise. Fifty-five respondents said yes, while less than half (45 per cent) said no.  

No matter how confident you are, you might want to proceed with caution if you decide to ask for one – and that means doing a little research first. 

You know for sure the answer will be no if you never ask, but if you do decide to ask for a raise, here are a few considerations:

1. Ask for a raise after a big accomplishment. Outline your case and make if fact-based, not emotional.

2. Never threaten to leave or give an ultimatum. Unless of course you don’t care and want to leave.

3. Go into the meeting with an agenda. Write down why you deserve the recognition and more importantly, what you will continue to do to make a difference. 

4. Ensure the timing is right and broker in the HR department for guidance and insight. In other words, don’t ask during a highly stressful period for the department/company.

5. Don’t hide behind email. This is the time for a face-to-face. It is much easier to gage the response of your manager including observing if they are in a good mood and just how receptive they are to your proposal. Timing is everything. Now might not be the right time for a raise for reasons beyond your control, but that doesn't mean you can't revisit it down the road.

Lastly, have other options in your back pocket should a raise not be in the cards. Possibly a flexible work week, more vacation, education costs covered – maybe even the opportunity to attend an industry conference.​ Having said all that, if you have done all your research, believe you are underpaid, and you can't live with it, remember: you do get the final say.​