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negotiating wages - (update)  Actions...
Posted: by flowerpot on Fri. 4 Nov., 2011 at 5:19:41 PM
I have a question for business owners out there who are hiring new help.  My DD is on the job hunt, she was working to fill a mat leave position and this person has come back so she is looking for work.   One has just come up looking for accounts receivable/payable and other desk responsibilities that I can't think of at the moment.  Wage offered is $15 an hour.  She just left a receptionist type job that paid $21 an hour.  She has a mortgage, car payment and a child to raise on her own and can't afford to live on $15 an hour.  Is it reasonable that she take her resume to this business and negotiate for a better wage if they might be interested in having her work for them?  Or would that be a sure way to be shown the door?
I appreciate your comments/advice.

UPDATE - I promised to let you know if DD found a job. Well, she did and starts tomorrow.  It isn't with the business I was asking about in this post, but another.  She will be running the one-person office and doing customer service for a local business.  I just talked to her and she is happy as a clam to be going back to work.
Thanks again everyone for your comments.

edited Mon. 7 Nov., 2011 @ 4:19:23 PM by flowerpot
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where does she live?  Actions...
Posted: by itsmeagain on Fri. 4 Nov., 2011 at 10:05:14 PM
In reply to: flowerpot "negotiating wages - (update)"

If she was job hunting here in Alberta I would say 'heck yeah, negotiate away!'.  But apparently the job market isn't the same accross the country.  Also, how badly does she need this job and can she continue to look once she gets the job?


Please forgive the typos . . . spell check doesn't seem to work for me!

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It doesn't hurt to ask  Actions...
Posted: by PinkMermaid on Fri. 4 Nov., 2011 at 10:18:21 PM
In reply to: flowerpot "negotiating wages - (update)"

My experience is that receptionist type jobs are around $15 so if she was getting $21/hour that's pretty good money and is on the high side for that type of work. 

It doesn't hurt to ask if pay is negotiable. However for high turnover type jobs such as retail, restaurant, and clerical she probably won't have much luck. Clerical jobs get a lot of applicants. The employer likely will choose another applicant who is willing to accept the pay offered.

If it was me I'd take the job just to have some income and keep looking for a job in the pay range I want.

As for our business mostly its just me and my husband but occasionally we hire contract workers so we do negotiate. My husband is a little more generous than me and might accept when someone wants more money.

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competition works both ways  Actions...
Posted: by __Don__ on Fri. 4 Nov., 2011 at 10:23:46 PM
In reply to: flowerpot "negotiating wages - (update)"

> Is it reasonable that she take her resume to this business and negotiate for a better wage if they might be interested in having her work for them?

It may depend (on 'Supply and Demand'). 

1.) Are there more well qualified applicants of this character (willing to take the offered pay rate) than there are jobs to go around?  Then my money's on:  "she'll be shown the door".  [I think her energy's better placed on continuing to look if she must have more.]

2.) Are there more jobs of this character then there are well qualified applicants (interested at the pay level offered) to fill such jobs?  Then my money's on:  "they'll talk to her, and maybe negotiate something".

Of course, there's usually no harm in trying to negotiate something if $15/hr is simply impossible for her (as, she's nothing to lose in the asking while risking insulting the employer).

> She has a mortgage, car payment and a child to raise on her own and can't afford to live on $15 an hour. 

Sure.  But, how much does Employment Insurance pay and subsequently zero income compare, with a paying position of $15/hr, though?  And, could she:  sell the home and rent?  Downgrade the car or manage without a car?  Cut costs left, right and center? 

Since she's not tied down by a job to her present area, could she move to:  better employment opportunities for her qualifications (sell her home); and/or, move to a less expensive area to live in?  $15/hr x 37(?)hrs/week x 52 wks/yr = $29,000/year. 

Which, suggests her optimal housing costs on such a salary (renting or owning) ought to be on the order of 30% of her gross income or around $9,000/yr ($700/mo, a typical one bedroom apt. in many but not all areas, but she has a child and would rather live in a two bedroom apartment I'd imagine).

Don (former business owner)

ps.  I'd be annoyed at job applicants wanting 'more' than the advertised position offers, unless I were desperate.  (I'd see it as a sign they'd likely be more trouble than they're worth if they then 'settled' for the advertised amount.)


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thanks for your input  Actions...
Posted: by flowerpot on Fri. 4 Nov., 2011 at 11:35:11 PM
In reply to: __Don__ "competition works both ways"
- DD bought an old house trailer in a trailer court.  The mortgage payment/utilities is cheaper than the rent she was paying for a small 2 bedroom basement suite.  Basically  a very dark depressing place and I could tell it was dragging both of them down into depression.  Rent in this town is ridiculous.
- When she split with her ex, she needed wheels and has a used small SUV.  She needs a vehicle, our town is too big to walk everywhere, and there is no bus service.
- She cannot move out of town. Her daughter is in playschool and will start kindergarten next fall.  The divorce agreement is a 50/50 share of responsibility of their child (1 week for mom, 1 week for dad) so until their daughter is done school or old enough to make a choice of who she wants to live with, they are both committed to this town.

She was very lucky to get this mat leave job right after her separation, the pay was excellent and helped her get her feet on the ground.  She isn't one to bounce around from job to job, when she commits, it would be long term so she really wants to find something so she can keep her head above water and put also money away for their future.   I can understand your point of view and I rather expected that would be the general answer.  But it didn't hurt to ask for input from an employer's point of view.
She will keep looking until she finds the right fit for her.  There are several other options in the help wanted ads.  Thanks for your input.

edited Sat. 5 Nov., 2011 @ 11:32:38 AM by flowerpot
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Short term  Actions...
Posted: by AB_mom on Sat. 5 Nov., 2011 at 2:46:40 AM
In reply to: flowerpot "negotiating wages - (update)"

I'd say take the first job offered... keep eye open for other jobs. A lower paying job is better than no job.  Would your dd qualify for EI since she's being laid off - as opposed to being fired?  EI doesn't pay lots, but it is an income that may help somewhat.

I didn't own the businesses I managed; so there was little room for negotiating with new hires - all that was determined by head office. It is possible though to negotiate with some employers.  Knowing where you are, I think your dd would have some good opportunities - job market from my understanding is good where you are.  Is she willing to drive out of town (ie within 1/2 hr or so radius?)=== adds to her commute time/gas bill - but may have more opportunity.

*added*  sometimes a job may have 'perks' - ie group insurance policy for medical - prescriptions, dental, etc - that could be worth more than a higher hourly wage.

edited Sat. 5 Nov., 2011 @ 2:53:05 AM by AB_mom
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just be careful  Actions...
Posted: by ginny123 on Sat. 5 Nov., 2011 at 9:34:17 AM
In reply to: flowerpot "negotiating wages - (update)"
Agree that it doesn't hurt to ask.  Depends a lot on supply and demand.  With the news out yesterday that Canada just lost over 50,000 jobs, it might not be up to her. 

She should be paid what the job is worth in that market.  It really shouldn't matter to the businesses that she has a mortgage and car payment.  They might think she should take public transit or buy a car she can afford - only saying that, because why should someone pay more to someone who has more debts?! 

Good for her for looking for a job though, and she can always ask for more.  Typically, she should wait until she's offered the job as that says they want her.  If she asks for more before they've made a decision, it could be a mark against her as she's more expensive than the other applicants.

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...  Actions...
Posted: by Mary... on Sat. 5 Nov., 2011 at 1:39:57 PM
In reply to: flowerpot "negotiating wages - (update)"

It is possible to ask very tactfully. She can just say that she is interested in the opportunity, and that her current salary is ___, so this is quite a bit lower. Is there any room for movement or is it fixed. I've offered many positions and never had a problem with the question, although I often not able to tell them what they wanted to hear.
I've worked in companies where both were options - some places it was fixed and other places it was negotiable if asked.

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thanks for your replies  Actions...
Posted: by flowerpot on Sat. 5 Nov., 2011 at 2:56:20 PM
In reply to: flowerpot "negotiating wages - (update)"
DD has applied for EI.  Don't know how long it takes for the first cheque to arrive, she could be back at work by then, we  hope.  Yes the job market in AB is great right now,  the majority of the jobs in our area are in the oil patch.  If she had a trucker's license, welder, electrician ticket, etc., the sky is the limit.
Her former job was more than a receptionist, there were 6 women in the office and they all learned each other's jobs to cover for sick and holiday leave (payroll, utilities, taxes, phones/filing, and so on).  It's been a long two weeks but she isn't giving up.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions,  I'll pass your tips on to her.  And of course, I'll let you know when she lands a new job.

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