You've just received a job offer, and chances are the first thing you're concerned about is the salary. The money is definitely important but shouldn't be the only thing you consider. Along with salary, your offer likely includes an employment benefits package. These benefits provide extra incentive to accept the job offer and are often just as important to consider as the paycheck.
What does an employment benefits package include?
Benefits vary greatly depending on the employer and position. Some of the most common employment benefits are:
- Paid holiday, vacation and sick days
- Medical, dental and vision insurance
- 401(k) or other retirement savings plan
As employers strive to remain competitive with the benefits they offer in order to attract top talent, nontraditional ones are becoming more common. These may include:
- Telecommuting or flexible work hours
- Subsidized training or education
- On-site child care
- Concierge services
Why benefits matter
Benefits are important to consider for several reasons. First, they can help offset the costs of necessary services, such as medical insurance, that you might otherwise have to pay for out of pocket or even be unable to afford. Employees frequently get a better rate by joining the company health insurance plan than they would if they purchased their own policy.
Second, employment benefits help promote and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Employees often feel stressed from juggling their jobs and everyday life, so many employers offer benefits that offset demanding work responsibilities. Telecommuting, for instance, allows employees to avoid a hectic, lengthy drive to the office. Another example is paid time off for volunteer activities. These and similar benefits help to improve employee morale and mental health.
Third, benefits can help you prepare for the future. Whether it's subsidized training that could lead to a promotion and higher salary or a 401(k) plan that helps you prepare for eventual retirement, benefits are set up to reward you for your time with the company by making your future better and more secure.
How to evaluate benefits
If you've received a job offer that includes an employment benefits package, how do you decide if it's right for you? First, make a must-have list of all the benefits required for you to accept the job. Your list might include vacation time, health insurance and a 401(k). See if the package includes these benefits.
From there, you can evaluate whether the terms are acceptable. For example, is the firm offering you as much paid time off as you would like? Does the company match contributions to your 401(k)? These aspects can make a benefits package even more valuable depending on your needs.
If your proposed salary is less than expected, evaluate the paycheck in light of the benefits. A top-notch benefits package may make a lower salary more palatable.
Next time you receive a job offer, pay close attention to the employment benefits. You might notice incentives that make taking the job surprisingly worthwhile.