Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

"Freelancers aren't just writers" / "The dos and don'ts of asking for a raise"

Aug. 24, 2016 "Freelancers aren't just writers": Today I found this article by Jared Lindzon in the Globe and Mail:


Opportunities for self-employed individuals are on the rise, found in more sectors than ever.
Although the typical Canadian freelancer may be perceived as a writer, graphic designer or other such creative type, new data paint a different picture of the temporary and contract work force.

A recent report by FlexJobs found that between May and July of 2016, the most indemand career fields for freelancers were medical and health, education, project management, computer and IT, and accounting and finance.

While the findings are primarily based on American job postings, “it seems to carry over pretty consistently with Canadian-based companies,” said Brie Reynolds, FlexJobs’ director of content for the freelance job board.

There are 53 million freelancers in the United States, representing 34 per cent of the country’s entire work force, a number predicted to reach 40 per cent by the year 2020, according to the Freelancer’s Union.

Approximately 1.9 million Canadians are classified as selfemployed and without having employees of their own, according to Statistics Canada, while another 2.3 million are classified as temporary employees. Combined, these two groups represent approximately 21.5 per cent of Canada’s overall work force.

“What this study shows is that more traditional fields – like education or health care or accounting and finance – can be done on a freelance basis, and those opportunities seem to be growing even more so than the traditional freelance fields, like writing and graphic design,” Ms. Reynolds said. “I think it bodes well for anyone that’s interested in being a contractor or being self-employed, that there’s more opportunity than ever before.”
The freelance economy is diverse in terms of age and level of experience.

“We have members from across the country, all ages, all levels of education, all income levels, some who can make a really decent living and others who are just scraping by,” said Leslie Dyson, president of the Canadian Freelance Union.
“We have older workers who have been doing it for many decades who are quite well established, who actually hire other freelancers to assist on projects, and then we have younger people with incredible levels of education and skill.”

Ms. Dyson adds that while many Canadian freelancers prefer to work independently, others are forced into less permanent work as a result of dwindling permanent career opportunities. “There’s no denying that more and more people are now becoming freelancers, that is just the way things seem to be going until we see some significant changes in our economy,” she said.

As a result, Canadian staffing agencies that specialize in recruiting temporary and contract workers are seeing significant demand. Toronto-based IT staffing agency, Eagle – which was identified by FlexJobs as the top Canadian employer of freelancers for professional positions – receives well more than 7,000 online applications a month.

“I would say the majority of resources that work with us have anywhere between 10 and 20 years experience,” said Frances McCart, the vice-president of business development at Eagle, which began as the recruitment division of Andersen Consulting, now Accenture PLC.

During her 20-year career, Ms. McCart says she’s witnessed a gradual but significant evolution in the perception of freelance workers in the IT industry.
“When I first started, using an independent contractor was very rare, and it was sort of considered dirty, like you weren’t the best person, you couldn’t get a full-time job, that’s why you went contract,” she said. “Over the years, and especially since the Y2K changing in technology, a lot of people became independent contractors, and that’s escalated over the years.”

Companies of all sizes now employ freelance IT workers on a regular basis, particularly when adopting and upgrading new technology platforms. The finance industry similarly employs a significant number of temporary staff for specific or seasonal projects, such as audits and compliance, and to replace permanent staff on leave.

“Any time you have an industry or a sector that’s undergoing a lot of change, or a company that’s been acquired or going through an IPO, or companies are merging, that tends to result in them putting a freeze on permanent hiring while they sort everything out,” said Viney Mandal, the vice-president of client services in the finance and accounting contract division of Lannick, a Toronto-based staffing firm. “If they need to replace people who leave who are in critical accounting functions, they replace them with contractors.”

Mr. Mandal adds that industries such as finance are outpacing more creative industries in freelance hiring as a result of their relative growth in recent years.
“The economic cycle [in finance] is strong right now, which results in companies being able to open up and spend money on various projects that they might not otherwise when they’re constraining spending,” he said. “Demand for strong professional talent in the accounting and finance space right now outstrips supply. It wasn’t that case five years ago when we were in a tougher [economic] time.”


"The do's and don'ts of asking for a raise": Today I found this article by Aleksandra Sagan in the Globe and Mail:

About a year into her first full-time gig out of university, Jordann Brown was startled to discover she was earning less than most other Canadians in the same type of position.

Saddled with about $38,000 in student and car loans at the time, she’d jumped on the job offer without doing much research. But later on while scouring the Internet for tips on how to earn more, she came across salary-comparison sites detailing just how much she was in fact being underpaid.

The somewhat emboldened but mainly nervous 22-year-old started making a plan to ask her boss for a wage increase.
“I decided to do it because I knew there was a good chance that I could argue successfully for a raise,” said Brown, now 26, who works in marketing and also runs her own personal finance blog.

After swaying her boss with some compelling arguments, followed by an uncomfortably long pause, her annual pay was increased by about 10 per cent.
It may be a nerve-wracking experience to ask an employer for more money, but a well-prepared individual presenting a strong business case of how they add to the company’s financials can be persuasive.

Preparation is key, notes David King, district president of Canadian staffing agency Robert Half.
In addition to knowing comparable salaries, he says, employees looking for an income boost need to highlight ways they’ve helped the organization increase revenues, boost efficiencies or lower costs.

“When you can draw a correlation to your value and the bottom line of the organization,” said King, “it certainly helps your position.”
In Brown’s case, she came prepared to her meeting with lists of all her completed projects over the past year and their positive impact on the company. She also compiled good customer feedback and the skills she’d acquired since her start date.

But how much to ask for – Brown’s 10 per cent raise notwithstanding – will entirely depend on each person’s situation, says Alan Kearns, founder of job coaching agency CareerJoy.

“It could be an extremely large raise. It could be a small raise,” he notes.
Variables include the worker’s starting and current salary, and total compensation package – as well as factors like if they led a project to an unexpectedly large profit.

There are also some common benchmarks to consider, Kearns adds, like inflation.
In 2016, the average pay bump for non-unionized employees will be 2.6 per cent, according to a projection in the Conference Board of Canada’s most recent compensation planning outlook report that surveyed 370 organizations.

Another salary tactic is to ask for more than the employee is willing to settle for, says Kearns, and create some wiggle room for negotiations.
However you choose to stack the deck in your favour, just be sure you’ve taken the time to practice your spiel, says King. You don’t want to stumble through a negotiation.

Employees may also want to consider asking for things beyond money, he adds. Workers may be able to, for example, negotiate flexible work hours or extra vacation time in lieu of increased pay.

It’s best, however, to avoid bringing up personal circumstances, King stresses – even if that’s the reason behind the discussion.
It’s not up to an employer to pay more for the same job when an employee decides to buy an expensive vehicle, take a large vacation or purchase a costly home, says King.

Another bad move is getting emotional.

Like she did, Brown suggests not waiting too long to ask for a raise, as it allows pent-up resentment to transform into a demanding, frustrated tone during salary negotiations.

“It shouldn’t be an argument,” agrees King, “and that’s best avoided with the homework that’s done proactively.”
Despite taking all the right steps, a jump in pay won’t always come your way.

If it’s down to your performance at work, and not company finances, Brown suggests creating a plan to enhance your skill set – for example, through online certifications.

But if the boss makes it clear there’s no opportunity to progress, that’s another situation.
“Then it might be time to quietly start job searching,” she said.

Harry011 6 days ago
The first half of the article was unnecessary.

No one cares about the background of this woman and why she's suffering.

Just stick to the points of how to properly ask for a raise. Leave the gender aspect out of it.

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Donna Winter 6 days ago
Indeed, well said !


Nov 9, 2016 "New tool helps people measure their worth": Today I found this article by Julie Verhage in the Globe and Mail:

It just got easier to find out if you’re being paid fairly. Career website Glassdoor Inc. is releasing a new tool aiming to help employees find out if what they are earning is fair based on their location, employer, job title, years of experience and education.

“What you are worth is something that everyone is curious about,” said Dawn Lyon, vicepresident for corporate affairs at the company. “Salary data is one of the most popular things on Glassdoor.”

It’s also something most people find a bit uncomfortable to talk about, so Glassdoor’s new tool offers a bit of anonymity. Instead of exposing what a specific co-worker earns, it gives an average of what people with a specific title and experience make at your company, as well as at other companies, in different cities and at different levels of expertise.

The tool will also take into account the supply and demand of your role – based on the job listings on Glassdoor’s website – to determine fair pay. When demand is higher for a role, the market value will move higher.

It’s still a bit rough around the edges. Glassdoor estimates that roughly 55 per cent to 60 per cent of the U.S. work force will be able to get results, but there isn’t yet enough data to cover the entire population. If a user is unable to get a result, he or she can sign up to receive an alert when one is available. And while aspects such as gender are not currently accounted for, Glasssdoor plans to add to the tool in the future. “As time goes on and we collect more and more data, this tool is only going to get smarter,” Ms. Lyon said.

Glassdoor thinks the tool will be most valuable to job seekers, since studies have shown that salary is the top consideration when people consider moving to a different company.


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