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What Matters to Job Seekers? Hint: Not Perks.

Topics: Data & Research
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Young and old workers unite! You’re both searching for the same things when it comes to a good job. Is it a place you can bring your dog, your baby, your ping pong skillz? It turns out, not so much.

Millennials and boomers both just want a good base salary, darn it — at least, according to a recent survey on job attitudes, conducted during September 2018 by True North Market Insights for TD Ameritrade. The survey included 1,110 American adult investors with at least $10,000 in investable assets.

You can’t eat ping pong tables

It’s true that you might like a casual work atmosphere and some nice amenities, but when a job doesn’t pay you what you’re worth, perks don’t mean much.

It’s no surprise, then, that millennials and boomers both rate salary above other considerations like perks and vacation time, according to the survey. Seventy-three percent of those surveyed said that they rated base pay most highly when considering a job offer.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Next on their list: health insurance and vacation time (both at 67 percent) and a retirement savings account with a company match (65 percent). These priorities were followed by flexible schedules, bonus incentives and company culture.

If you were at the negotiation table for a new job or even during your annual review, where would you start the talks? To start with, you should know exactly what you’re worth. Research an appropriate range with the PayScale Salary Survey.

Salary is the start of the negotiation process

According to the survey, 70 percent of respondents felt it is definitely easier to find a job than it was five years ago. Unemployment is at just 3.7 percent as of the October jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Hiring is up. Wages are up. The total number of workers and job searchers is up,” wrote Patricia Cohen at The New York Times.

That means that you could have room to negotiate at your current job or your next position. Not sure how to get started, or how to negotiate over email or the phone? We have tips galore. To start, make sure you get your salary settled first, then look at perks like flex time or telecommuting.

Want help? Use PayScale’s Salary Negotiation Guide to help you talk the talk and walk the walk.

Salary is about more than just money

Why negotiate for a higher salary? First and foremost, to pay the bills. But beyond that, it’s important to think about what salary represents — a sign that your employer values your skills and abilities.

If you feel that you’re underpaid, free cereal and a fun corporate culture won’t make up for it. And while PayScale research has shown that employers can mitigate the effects of low pay by communicating the reasons behind lower compensation, that might be a harder sell in a employee’s job market.


What are your priorities when considering a job offer? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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