By Sheryl Smolkin
Read this article and comments at Moneyville.ca
When you apply for a job you will often be asked for your salary expectations even though the ad for the position may not give the salary range.
This is a tricky question because if you ask for too much you may not even make the first cut. But if you ask for too little, you may regret it when you get a low ball offer.
So how do you know how much to ask for?
While companies often participate in surveys that provide salary data, it is more difficult for individuals. Colleen Coates a consultant with People First HR Services in Winnipeg encourages people to ask prospective employers what the salary range is for the position. But she agrees that does not necessarily mean the range offered reflects market rates.
Internet resources such as PayScale and Salary Wizard Canada can give you data for specific positions in your area. For example, using Salary Wizard, I got median base salary information for three entry level positions in Toronto:
• $43, 621: HR Generalist 1
• $65,826: Electrical Engineer 1
• $56,960: Plumber 1
Here are some other sources of information you can access:
1. The University of Toronto Career Centre’s website links to a wide range of resources including monster.ca’s Salary Centre and several government websites.
2. Living in Canada is primarily geared to new immigrants, but current average hourly wages for jobs ranging from managers to trades people are posted for major locations across the country.
3. Professional associations like the Chartered Accountants Association of Ontario conduct regular salary surveys of their members.
4. Industry magazines like the Canadian Lawyer publish annual compensation surveys.
While publicly available information can give you a feel for the salaries paid, Coates says the best source of information is generally someone doing the job you want, either in the company where you are seeking a job or in another similar organization.
Networking with friends, family, former school mates and business associates in person and on social media sites like Linked in or Facebook can help you connect with people who may be able to give you the inside track. Speaking to a recruiter working in your industry may also be useful.
Even if the salary at the company where you are interviewing seems to be lower than industry norms, don’t forget to take the total compensation package into consideration. Often perks like tuition reimbursement and a robust career development program can position you for future promotions which will bring more responsibility and higher pay.