Talking Money: A Guide for Employers and Talent


Discussing money can be a sensitive topic in the best of times. Nothing makes us happier and more hopeful to see the job market recovering. With multitrillion-dollar stimulus programs from the federal government, lifted restrictions, and the market feeling more confident than before – businesses are resuming operations and bringing back workers to meet demand. With the sudden spark in need for talent, many would say employees and job seekers seem to have the upper hand making it a “candidate’s market.” 

Does that mean the job seekers will dictate the salary and the employers must match what the candidates are asking for? Well, not necessarily.

Read on for a few tips on how to tackle this sensitive subject, sensibly.

Tips for job seekers

  • Look beyond the money
    Salary is unquestionably one of the most critical parts of compensation. If you wish to have a career that you will love, consider different workplace incentives such as flexible work hours, additional leave, or professional development opportunities. 
  • Find your purpose
    Think about your own values, beliefs, and culture. Does the company have the values and growth opportunities that align with yours? Besides money, what makes you truly happy?

Tips for existing employees

  • See the bigger picture
    When asking for a raise, try shining the light on your passions and enthusiasms. If your employer can’t give you that pay increase now due to budget limitations – what else would make you happy? Think leadership training towards promotion, flexibility or other non-monetary benefits that would impact your life!
  • Make your case shine 
    Never demand a raise. Instead, demonstrate the added value you deliver, and polish your case (backed by numbers) on why you deserve to earn more. This is a professional and respectable move.

Tips for employers to retain talent

  • Pay attention and ask questions
    Nothing says you’re a manager that truly cares more than taking time to listen when your employees express why they deserve the pay rise. 
  • Be flexible 
    Every employee is different, and not everyone values  money in the same way. Some may want to work from home, others want  a hybrid work week and some working parents value more family benefits. Be prepared to customize the role for the employees and meet their needs, because you know they’re your company’s biggest assets.
  • Talk to the right people and check the compensation system
    Are you underpaying or overpaying? The only way to find out is by continually evaluating your compensation plan to determine the competitiveness of your employee’s current salary. 

The salary conversation doesn’t have to be awkward. Discussing salary expectations and pay rise can be nerve-racking if you don’t have the right information. We encourage discussions and learn from one another – so everyone can benefit from a fulfilling career.