How new pay transparency and AI hiring rules will impact Canadian workers
Job seekers should understand that salary ranges are influenced by compensation trends in their chosen field of work, market rates for specific job titles, and even geographic location. For example, some employers may offer a “cost of living” increase if you live in an expensive city. Generally, you can expect entry-level salaries to be within a narrow range. As you progress into more senior positions, you may see salary ranges widen to account for a broader number of factors, such as responsibilities, performance targets and bonuses.
Access to salary information in job postings provides an obvious up-front benefit. You could more easily find roles that match your income expectations—and you can overlook the ones that don’t pay enough. If you believe the position should pay more than what’s posted, know that you will have to defend your thinking in an interview. Employers may be reluctant to offer you what you want if they have many other interested candidates.
And while you may be tempted to negotiate for the top end of the stated pay range, make sure you have the education, skills and experience the hiring manager is looking for. Otherwise, you may be eliminated from the candidate pool should there be other qualified candidates who are willing to accept a lower salary.
Knowing the pay scale for your current role at your organization—or even what competitors are paying for the type of work you do—can help you figure out if you’re underpaid. If so, you should feel comfortable going to your boss and asking for a raise (with the statistics to back up your request). If you feel valued in your role, you may have the most negotiating power during your performance review.
You may believe the longer your tenure at the company, the more competitive your pay will be. Think again—nowadays, it’s often the new kid on the block who’s paid more. That’s because new employees are hired having negotiated their salaries at the current market rates, whereas existing employees often get smaller annual raises. Going into 2024, one study found Canadians could get an average 3.6% bump in pay.
Negotiate for other perks
Whether you’re a new or existing employee, if you’re at the peak of your pay band, it may be impossible to negotiate a higher salary.
However, you can always ask for other perks, such as a bonus, stock options, more vacation days, a flexible work arrangement or more benefits. These can be just as valuable as a raise. Make sure to enter negotiations with the same kind of performance and industry information you would use to ask for a salary bump.
Focus on jobs that meet your overall “dream job” criteria
Ultimately, knowing the pay ranges for a job you’re considering can save you time and energy. But remember salary is just one factor to consider when working for a company. Having a good work culture, flexible work schedule, social gatherings, training opportunities and great leadership are examples of non-financial benefits that can also add value to your career.