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To Maximize Compensation, Don’t Forget About Benefits

Topics: Negotiation
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Only 43 percent of respondents to PayScale’s Salary Survey said they’d asked for a raise in their current field. This was true even though the consequences of not negotiating can be pretty costly. Many workers forget that benefits make up a significant portion of their compensation, and neglect to bargain for things that can save or earn money over the long run.

Salary vs. Compensation

It can be all too easy to focus solely on salary when evaluating a job offer. With bills to pay (which often include debilitating student loan debt) it’s more than understandable. However, benefits account for 31.6 percent of compensation on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So, they deserve our attention.

The words “salary” and “compensation” are often used interchangeably. But salary is just one piece of the compensation puzzle. So, when you sit down to the negotiation table, remember that you can and should negotiate your whole package, not just your salary.

Sometimes, there’s more wiggle room when it comes non-cash compensation. So, you might have better luck pushing on these goals. This is particularly true when salary negotiations are starting feeling stuck. Prepare for this aspect of your negotiation just like you would for the salary side of things. Know what you’re looking for in advance. And, be ready to negotiate for it.

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Negotiate for These Benefits

Make sure you’re prepared for all aspects of the benefits discussion before your next negotiation. Medical benefits are just one piece of the puzzle. You should also keep other crucial benefits in mind, like paid time off, education and development and free gym memberships.

These days, employers of choice do all kinds of things to recruit and retain top employees. Some offer some pretty cool out-of-the-box benefits like free access to the company’s products or services, or the option to telecommute.

Do some thinking before your next negotiation. Consider whether any of these options might be of significant value to you. Flex-time, for example, might save you time and money on your commute and improve your work-life balance in the bargain.

Tell Us What You Think

Which benefits mean the most to you? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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Larry J
Larry J

Quite right, salary is only a portion of compensation. For younger workers, benefits that you mentioned like flextime might indeed be valuable. But for workers with families, college expenses, etc, often the only four components that matter much are: 1) salary 2) near-cash like stock grants or options 3) 401(k) plan & company matching 4) medical coverage 5) and maybe vacation time And only #1 and #2 are negotiable — 3 and 4 tend to be cast in stone company-wide,… Read more »

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