Whether you’ve recently earned your degree and are eager to join the workforce or an established professional on the brink of your next big career move, you could find yourself sifting through tons of job ads to get the perfect fit. When weighing an offer from a prospective employer, it’s easy to focus solely on main talking points: negotiating your ideal salary, finding a job location convenient to your home, or making sure you have ample room within the organization to move on up.
Truth be told, the buck doesn’t stop there—your benefits package is an equally important consideration, and one that you shouldn’t take lightly. Solid employee advantages can save you money in the grand scheme of things, fostering your personal bottom line and even acting as a pay increase in some cases. Want to know what to expect when you’re shopping for jobs? We’ve got the ins and outs of employee benefits covered, so you’ll never have to guess when picking out your perks.
Due to the labor laws in place in the U.S., employers are required to provide some essential benefits to their full-time workers without fail, and this can mean big time protection for yourself and your future. As would stand to reason, these perks often fall right in line with state and federal government programs, and the parameters of each can differ depending on where you live. Although sometimes overlooked, overtime pay and minimum wage are considered government-mandated benefits and have been established to ensure that you get a fair wage no matter where you’re punching a time clock. Additionally, programs like Worker’s Compensation, Social Security, and Unemployment Insurance all fall under the umbrella of necessary benefits, and they should be a given at any job interview you attend.
It’s a great idea to get a feel for how each of these programs operates so that you can make them work for you. For example, understanding the part social security plays in your future finances is fundamental to planning for retirement. The one thing you don’t have to do, however, is worried about negotiating for these advantages in your package, because they should be ready and waiting for you.
Whether the company you’ve got your eye on has been around for one year or one hundred, they likely have a good idea of what they’re prepared to offer you in terms of a benefits package. While a lot of these perks are considered standard across industries, they are discretionary, and typically only apply to those pulling the 40-hour work week. For instance, many employers offer PTO (or paid time off) to account for personal and vacation days, and that may be in addition to designated sick time for when you’re feeling under the weather.
Aside from getting a little paid time out of the office, you may commonly find benefits like life insurance, health care coverage, and retirement plans to be put in place for you. Your organization may pick and choose from this list or opt out of major benefits altogether depending upon their size and fiscal well-being. However, the basis of employer-provided perks is balancing what you want now with what you may need down the line, so these types of advantages are often expected as a part of the modern workplace experience.
Now that you know the buffet of benefits you’re likely to be presented with when you head into your interview, you might be wondering which are the most important—the kind you might want to press for if they’re not immediately offered to you. Although the ideal package for you depends wholly on your lifestyle and your goals, it can be helpful to understand what your colleagues are clamoring for so that you can make a well-rounded decision on your own.
Surveys suggest that among the many benefits employees have to choose from, health care coverage, adjustable scheduling, and extended paid time off top the list. It’s no surprise that the opportunity to telecommute came in a solid fourth, as these results imply that employees are turning their preferences toward gaining a work-life balance. What’s more, of all of the workers studied, nearly 80% would sacrifice an increase in pay for more employer-provided perks. This demonstrates that benefits have been assigned a true “cash value” in their minds, as they’re willing to forfeit a raise to achieve a higher level of happiness and security.
Other honorable mentions include family leave and financial backing to pursue higher education. When combined, these advantages can make for a happier and more diverse work environment. Healthy, content employees strengthen the organization, so offering benefits is a great move for the employer as well.
Keeping in line with improving your wellness, another great perk to consider is disability insurance. If you were to get hurt and couldn’t continue crushing it at work, this type of coverage would aid in making sure you maintained a cash flow. Though commonly offered by employers, if you find that your dream company isn’t one of them, that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. You can purchase disability insurance independently, and there are financial advisors standing at the ready to help you make the most of your shopping. Don’t be shy—ask a Dayton & Sydney advisor about your best bet for securing your finances should disaster strike, and make sure that the benefits package you choose is truly comprehensive.
PPG-140453c (10/18) (exp. 10/20)