7 Compensation Package Considerations beyond Salary
A fair salary is extremely important—you should get paid appropriately for the work you are doing. It’s good for you and it’s good for the company, helping businesses retain talent and increase morale. But there are other kinds of compensation in addition to salary you should consider and/or ask about when you are deciding whether a new company is a good fit.
1. Good healthcare benefits
Healthcare benefits are a big consideration in whether employees are willing to stay at their jobs. You might not realize it at the moment, but how much you have to pay into your healthcare has the potential to make an enormous impact on how far your salary goes. In fact, costs are a major driver in dissatisfaction. Asking questions about how your potential company manages healthcare benefits will give you a good idea of how you will feel three years down the road.
2. Paying tuition
Check your company’s rules around this because when businesses offer to pay for tuition, there could be restrictions, such as only paying for courses/degrees relevant to company needs or your current position. Despite parameters, tuition payment or reimbursement could be an incredible opportunity for you to continue your education, opening your future to even better opportunities.
3. Parental leave
If you are planning to have children, this will be an important benefit to watch for. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) ensures 12 weeks of job-protected leave to take care of a newborn or adopted child—but not with pay. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 66 percent of people with access to the FMLA don’t take it because they simply can’t afford to. Some companies, however, offer paid parental leave, and if this is a benefit you hope to have available, you should watch out for it.
4. Signing bonus and annual bonuses
You can discuss this when you are reviewing your offer—even if they are not included, you can negotiate adding them, and they can be a tremendously helpful bump in the long run. Consider this—the base salary may not meet your requirements, but a signing and annual bonus might bump you up to where you want to be.
5. Matching your 401(k)
An employer match to your 401(k) is free money and can make a substantial difference in what you have saved for retirement and how much you want to contribute from your paycheck. If your company matches up to four percent, and you contribute five percent, then a total of nine percent of your paycheck is contributed to your 401(k) yearly. This can be a major help in saving for retirement.
6. Stock options
Stock options are prevalent in the world of startups, but established companies offer them as well. It can be a gamble—you are betting on the future success of your organization, and sometimes these options are offered as an alternative to a larger salary the company can’t afford. How you use these, and what they mean, can feel complicated. It could be smart to consult with an advisor who will explain how to exercise your stock options. But at its most basic, “an employee stock option is a plan that means you have the option to buy shares of the company’s stock at a certain price for a given period of time.”
This is a hot-button issue as more companies begin to offer hybrid and remote options to their employees. Where you are able to live while you work can make a significant difference in how far that paycheck goes. Are you driving to work and paying for parking? A job closer to home or one that offers the option to work entirely or partially remote will save you money. If your company does want you to travel to an office, consider asking them to reimburse you for travel and parking. Since the majority of our jobs can easily be done remotely, it’s only fair for an employer to pay for you to come in.
These are just a few considerations but make your own list. Do you want more PTO? Discuss additional vacation time. Are you looking for childcare reimbursement? Many companies offer to cover some or all of those expenses. Do you want a more prestigious title that will allow you to move upward (or outward) more easily? Do not wait to think about what you want until you are in the negotiation phase of accepting a new job offer. List what matters to you (beyond salary) and approach your future employer with confidence.