What are you worth? Tech meetup explores salary negotiations

In the hot Toronto tech employment market, one topic that’s on the mind of many in tech is salary negotiations. This week, ExploreTechTO, a local Meetup, held a panel discussion on this timely topic. The gathering was a mixed group of men and women, with a number of women expressing interest in this topic.

Statistically, women don’t negotiate as often as men. In a well-known study from Carnegie Mellon, men were 8 times more likely to negotiate than women, as reported on In my experience, introverted men which can be a characteristic of many software developers also don’t ask or don’t feel as comfortable with negotiation.

The discussion was hosted at TribalScale, with the panel moderated by Alexis Clarfield-Henry, Director of Marketing & Communications at Unata. On the panel with me was Nora Jenkins, Director of People Operations at Wealthsimple and Corey Reid Co-Founder of Upspark consulting.

Some of the key questions tackled included salary negotiations at the time of hiring, asking for a raise and the manager’s perspective.

Audience members were encouraged to engage with the panel by writing their questions on clipboards circulated by the meetup organizers, Dileshni Jayasinghe, a platform engineer with Unata, and Ania Halliop, Dev Manager at Freshbooks. The format made for a relevant discussion while giving some measure of anonymity for a sensitive topic area.

Key takeaways from the discussion 

  • A common misconception in negotiations is for the employee to perceive the employer has all the power in the negotiation, but if the employee is a good fit for the position, then both the employer and the employee want the same outcome.
  • Remember that managers and human resources professionals are humans in the negotiation.
  • Prepare yourself for negotiations by being clear of the outcome you want and why that’s important to you and thinking about what the employer wants.
  • Look at compensation as the total package including vacations, benefits and bonuses, not just the salary.
  • Do your homework before negotiations by knowing what your market value is, check out online resources like the new LinkedIn salary info, Payscale or Glassdoor. But in a hot employment market like Toronto tech, keeping informed through your network is critical.

For more details, or if you missed the event, you can watch the video here:

Cheryl Sylvester
Cheryl Sylvester
Cheryl Sylvester is a Leadership Coach, Brand Communications consultant and W100 Business Owner. A perpetual idea generator, entrepreneurship cheerleader, and wanna-be geek, her clients include Novell, PlateSpin, Mozilla, HP, Tenscores & Polar. She writes about Leadership, Communications, Entrepreneurship and Women in technology.

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