Useful advice on how to negotiate the best starting salary for your job

In the not so distant past, jobs were hard to come by and there were a huge amount of demand for every job position. These days, there is more of a demand for employees, meaning that you can be pickier about what job you accept. You are also in a better position to negotiate on your starting salary package. If you were lucky to get a job in the first place, you would not want to jeopardise the position by trying to get a higher salary right off the bat. However, if you have been actively sought after by a company, you are in a strong position when it comes to negotiating a better salary. Here is some advice that will help you to do that. Completely understand the job You would be amazed at the amount of people who apply and accept jobs when they don’t understand what exactly the position entails. In order to come up with an estimate of what you feel that you should be paid, break down the job position into a few different areas. List all of the responsibilities, expectations and requirements that the job entails. By knowing these factors, you will get a better picture of what type of work you will be involved with and the stress levels of the job at hand. Before you go into a meeting to discuss salary, you should be well versed on the company’s procedures when it comes to salary and pay increases. Every business conducts these things their own way, so if you are unsure, you should ask the person about the process. Learn about how the business will review the performance of employees, as well as how pay rises and promotions will be given. You should be going into the interviewing process armed with the necessary salary information of the company’s competitors, as well as the industry as a whole. This puts you in a better negotiating position, as you have the exact details of what you can expect. A lot of companies require certain qualifications or certifications, in order for you to reach a certain salary level e.g. you may earn more if you are earning a certification online. Know your strengths Just like when you have to promote yourself in a positive light when you want to win the job in the first place, you should once again highlight how you are different from all other employees. What strengths do you bring to the table that are unique and highly sought after? You can use these strengths during the negotiation process to leverage yourself to a better salary. You should always have a number in mind that is your walk away point. As you have your target salary nailed down in your mind, you need to have a bottom range as to what you are willing to accept. You should write down the reasons as to why you would not accept any lower than this amount, and outline them to the company if needs

Canada’s pension system is simply not doing the job, authors say

Political issues deemed too important or sensitive to be tampered with are often referred to as the 'third rail' after the electrically-charged third rail in subway systems ... like Canada's pension system, for instance. “Many Canadians will be surprised by how much they will need to save to fund their desired income in retirement and that their income is going to plummet,” says Jim Leech, co-author of The Third Rail: Confronting our Pension Failures. “It’s clear that existing pension structures are not allowing people to reach their saving goals. Political leadership is urgently required to bring a more flexible approach to retirement planning, one that can withstand the pressures of more retirees and longer life expectancy.” The easiest and most efficient way to close this shortfall is to enhance the Canada Pension Plan, he maintains. But that's not likely to happen anytime soon since most workers and their employers are simply too short sighted. As employers and employees each contribute roughly 5% of their pay straight into the CPP, an increase in the rate would mean that employees would have to get a raise larger than the CPP hike to ensure their take-home doesn’t drop. They would, however, see an offset with a larger CPP pension down the road. Many critics have voiced strong opposition to any boost in CPP contributions, however, labelling it another job-killing payroll tax on businesses. Nonetheless, Ontario is considering launching its own pension plan if it cannot obtain reforms to CPP. Leech and co-author Jacquie McNish would also like to see some action taken to stem the decline of defined benefit plans -- the least expensive way to provide a pension to workers, they argue. The authors cite Rhode Island and New Brunswick as examples of jurisdictions that have taken drastic measures to address pension shortfalls, including major cuts to municipal jobs and services. But both are cautionary tales. And they will remain so as long as a government continues to ignore the root cause of the retirement meltdown, they maintain. Record numbers of workers are retiring and living longer than anyone expected; pension funds have not built in sufficient surpluses to cope with market and demographic stresses, and employers are unwilling to shoulder these steadily increasing costs. Failure to address these issues immediately will soon lead to disaster, the authors predict. Would you like to set more money aside using the CPP? If you're lucky enough to have one, are you concerned about the stability of the plan you're involved