Finding work in Canada: Should you negotiate your salary as a newcomer?

Julia Hornstein
Published: September 28, 2022

As a newcomer, you may feel as though you cannot negotiate your salary because you do not have any prior Canadian work experience. This assumption is incorrect, especially when you have experience in your field.

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It is important to demonstrate to an employer that you know the key differences within the industry (i.e. laws, procedures, etc.) and in the work environment between your country of origin and Canada.

Workers have leverage in Canada

Canada’s labour force has over 20 million people, and newcomers account for a growing portion of the labor force. According to a job vacancies report by Statistics Canada in the first quarter of 2022, job vacancies in Canada reached 957,500. The job vacancy rate, which measures the number of vacant job positions as a proportion of the total labor demand, has been on an upward trend since 2016. As a result, there is a multitude of Canadian employment opportunities for newcomers.

Tips for negotiating your salary

Before and during the interview process, there are some things you can do in order to have the most success when it comes to getting the salary you want.

Before the interview

  • Do research on the industry standards for the job you are looking for, especially on the provincial salary data. You should then decide on the fairest salary offer you would accept considering your work experience and skill set.
  • Determine what your strongest skill sets are in relation to the job and use them while asking for a higher salary.
  • Establish how you are going to negotiate for a higher salary and practice it before the interview.
  • Decide at what point you will stop negotiating before the conversation becomes unpleasant.

During the interview

  • Make sure the fit between you and the job seems right. If you do not feel like you have all the skills for the job or have not impressed the employer enough, you may want to reconsider your salary negotiation.
  • You may learn about job tasks that will require you to have experience you don’t have or learn more than anticipated. You may need to adapt to situations and take this into account when deciding whether to negotiate or not.

Resources to help your career in Canada

If you are looking for additional career support, you are welcome to visit Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) settlement providers page to find a local organization that can help you. IRCC funds over 1,000 organizations across Canada who provide free settlement supports such as employment training and advice to new permanent residents to Canada. Simply look up organizations that are within close proximity of your residence in Canada

There are also many websites you can use to start looking for a job. These include:

  • LinkedIn
  • Canada’s Job Bank
  • Indeed

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