When people go through a job search, the salary figures and job duties are often the information applicants pay attention to the most. While both factors are definitely important and should be part of the equation, there are several other things to consider. Your employer can be beneficial to you in ways beyond your weekly paycheck. There are some other considerations to make about your current job or if you are looking for a new job.
Benefits to Consider
Here are some of the things you should be considering:
Health Insurance Coverage
Health insurance has long been a hot topic of debate, especially because many American’s cannot afford coverage even with a job. It is important to review the health insurance benefits being offered by a company and make sure it meets your family’s needs. In some cases, working spouses will have to choose between plans being offered by their respective employers.
Ideally you’ll want to find out what kind of insurance coverage is provided for you and for your eligible family members. Check for health insurance coverage, vision insurance, dental coverage, life insurance, disability insurance, and long-term medical care. Not all employers will offer all-inclusive coverage so you need to be in the know about how valuable your health insurance benefits are, especially if you need to decide between multiple job offers. And don’t just consider what is covered — consider the costs. Great benefits with an extraordinary price may not be as valuable to you as average benefits at a lower cost.
Not all employers will provide adequate retirement benefit options. Some employers will not provide any at all and other employers will not provide benefits compatible with your financial goals. You want to first ensure you have the ability to invest for retirement with an employer sponsored plan like a 401k or a 403b. If you can invest, find out the limitations for each year to make sure it meets your savings goals. You also want to know if your employer will match your contributions for retirement. If they do, that is free money you are getting for your future. The level of matching can play an important role in deciding which company to start your career with.
If you have heard the stories about some of the Fortune 500 companies whose incentive programs include free gym access, free on-site child care, free haircuts, and free lunches you may have your expectations set a little too high. Not all companies offer high-end freebies, but many employers do acknowledge employees’ hard work by offering less-exclusive incentives. You may not get to work out in a customized company gym but your boss may be willing to foot the bill for a local gym membership (especially because it can help lower their insurance costs). There are all kinds of incentive programs employers will use today to attract and hold on to quality talent. It is wise to check out these employee perks especially when you have several job offers to consider. These types of perks are not required of any employer but the fact they are provided may give you some insight as to how employers operate.
Being associated with companies in certain industries may also give you added benefits. Teachers, medical personnel, and other fields of work may allow you special access to credit unions, retail discounts, industry membership discounts, and the like. Like employer perks, none of these benefits are guaranteed but when they are offered it can be beneficial.
There are a lot of considerations to make when you are thinking about making a job switch or are looking for a new job. There is no right formula for making a decision as big as this but using your intuition and knowing where you want to be in 5 years can help you make a decision. Knowing more about the benefits of a company in addition to the salary data can help you make a more informed decision.
Photo by Alex France.
Another thing which I am not sure it you would consider a benefit is the people that work at the company. Benefits are great but you want to make sure the culture and direction of the company are in line with your goals in life.