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Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


Troubling news came earlier this week from MNP LTD’s most recent debt survey, which revealed Canadians are living close to the margin.

The survey found 48 per cent say they’re left with less than $200 at the end of the month after living expenses and bills are paid.

This data likely isn’t a tale of simple spending beyond your means. Benjamin Tal, senior deputy chief economist at CIBC Capital Markets, highlighted in a recent report that slow wage growth should be the focus, rather than personal debt levels. This got me thinking: What’s the best way to go about asking for a raise? Or, if you are in the process of getting a job offer, how do you ensure you are getting the salary you deserve to fund the lifestyle you desire?

Here are a few tips to consider when looking for a new job.

1. If you are considering leaving your current employer for better compensation, make sure you are actually getting a better compensation package and not a promise. Better compensation includes benefits and salary. Do not let yourself be seduced by a bigger title or the promise of greater responsibilities down the road.

2. Recognize looking for a job is almost a full-time job. However, while you scout around, don’t drop the ball on your current responsibilities. Looking for a job is hard work, so be sure not to cast your net too far too early. Slow and steady wins this race.

3. If you are desperate to leave your current employer, you may jump at the first opportunity that comes your way. Don’t! Relief may trump logic. Don’t let the headline number grab you.

4. As difficult as it may be, don’t negotiate against yourself by bringing up salary expectations. If possible avoid providing actual numbers until a job offer has been made however, if pushed highlight a range and be very clear the range is open to negotiation.

5. Earn the right to say no. Until you actually have an offer on the table, don’t walk away assuming you aren’t really interested or that you won’t be compensated fairly.

6. Keep your job search confidential and on a need-to-know basis.

7. Understand your market value if you have an unusual skill set. Never be demanding or arrogant, and try not to act surprised if an offer comes in on either the low or high end.

But before you decide to leave your current job for money, you might want to consider asking for a raise.  By the way, it’s normal to ask for more money if you feel you are under compensated. It isn’t greedy or entitled if you are being fair and reasonable. If your performance has exceeded expectations, it has been awhile since your salary has been adjusted, and you have done your homework on what you think you are worth,  it is time for a discussion.  

Whether looking for a new job or asking for a raise, a certain degree of emotional intelligence will come into play. Timing is key and you may not always get what you want, when you want it, but that doesn’t mean “no” is carved in stone.

Determine what you can and need to do differently to get you to the next financial level – and do the heavy lifting to get the job done.