Employees who are looking for raise to keep up with the heightened cost of living shouldn’t shy away from the conversation during economic uncertainty, one negotiation expert says.

Canadians have been battling with rising inflation for the last two years, with the most recent data from Statistics Canada showing a 3.3 per cent rise in July.

Beyond this, many corporations have engaged in layoffs or hiring freezes amid warnings from economists about a possible recession ahead.

Despite these conditions, experts say there is no wrong time to ask for raise – it’s all about how you have the conversation.

“It doesn’t matter what the entire economy is doing, or how parts of business itself is doing, it only matters what you’re doing,” Fotini Iconomopoulos, founder of Forward Focusing, a communication and strategy firm focused on negotiating, told BNN Bloomberg on Wednesday.

If you were no longer with the company, would it lose profits? Or, would it cost more to replace you than to give you a raise? Iconomopoulos advises clients to ask themselves such questions.

“The important thing to remember is even if you don’t get a raise, you still need to leave these conversations with information. Ensure you have a milestone or timeline for when you will renegotiate, or an action plan has been put in place to get you to where you need to be,” Iconomopoulos said.

One common mistake employees make in these meetings is not singing their own praises and failing to bring credible examples to the surface.

“When asking for a raise it’s best to use language like ‘based on’ when presenting your case, instead of, ‘I think’ because people cannot argue with credible facts like market research, but they can argue with your opinion,” she warned.

Iconomopoulos cautioned that one red flag workers must watch out for is if their employer is being vague with them.

“If they refuse to give you clarity and are stringing you along – it’s time to go,” she said.

Ultimately, a company’s most important asset is their employees, so they should be able to cut costs in other areas in order to sustain their teams during a recession, said Chris White, a senior investment analyst at 5i Research. 

“It’s important to know your worth going into these conversations and understand that even during a recession companies can and often do increase their costs as well as salary expenses,” he told BNNBloomberg.ca in a Wednesday interview.

White suggested that an opportune time to ask for a raise might be after you’ve done an outstanding job on a project, or during your annual or semi-annual review.

In addition, he noted that asking for things like more vacation time or a flexible schedule is another way to increase compensation, though it isn’t necessarily financial.

“The bottom line is, if you’ve helped grow this company’s top or bottom line, you should push to get some of those profits because ultimately you (are) one of the reasons it’s growing,” he said.