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The Real Value in a Job Offer
By Mary Barefoot, AgCareers.com

 

Are you trying to make heads or tails of your most recent job offer? Or maybe you are weighing two opportunities at the same time. Perhaps it seems obvious you should accept the highest pay. But what about benefits? Whatever your situation here are some points to ponder before you sign the on dotted line.

 

Money talks, but you can’t always listen.

 

We are all trying to make as much money possible to secure our future. Even though the obvious answer may be to strive for the highest salary, it’s not everything. We often see employees change jobs and step away from glamorous high paying jobs to do something that makes them happier, less stressed, or creates more of a work/life balance for them and their family. Step one is to look beyond the dollar signs and ask yourself, will I be happy in this role?

 

Dollars and Cents in the Job Offer

 

Once you know where your heart lies, you can really begin to weigh out how the job offer adds up. Focus first on the pay structure. What’s the base salary and is there additional earning potential like bonuses, incentive, or commission? Base salary plus performance pay is called total cash, this is what you can expect to bring home in a year. This is where you need to ask some questions of the employer to understand what is the target total cash compensation (base salary + performance pay if goals are met) versus actual total cash (base salary + performance pay actual paid out). Ask informed questions around how performance reward programs are structured like how is performance measured, are the earnings capped, what stipulations exist, is there additional earning potential beyond the program presented, and how often goals are typically met by those already in the role.

 

Benefits add up

 

Employers spend lots of money to pad your compensation package with more than just annual salary. These benefits are an important component of your overall economic security and should be closely reviewed. Having to pay more for health insurance coverage or less match to your 401K contribution may not seem like a significant change but can add up over time. Take time to do the math and calculate what the cost or loss in contributions look like over a year or five years. Most companies do a poor job relaying overall benefits and their value, so be sure to ask questions to fully evaluate the value of each.

 

Value-added perks

 

 These benefits may not be evident in your weekly paycheck but can add to your overall value. Training and development, for example, are worth a lot to young professionals as well as more experienced professionals looking to expand into new areas of business. Ask about what type of programs are offered beyond basic orientation. Additional employee “perks” contribute to your bottom line and overall comfort. Some examples of these perks may be flexible scheduling, free meals, travel, transportation, and leisure activities during work hours. Other perks may be subtler like getting the first choice on job assignments or preference when scheduling vacation.

 

Grab a pen and paper and make a checklist of the most common benefits offered: health insurance, retirement, mobile phone, performance rewards, paid time off, tuition reimbursement, clothing allowance, wellness programs, discounted products, gym subsidy, vehicle, flexible work arrangements/telecommuting, life insurance, short-term and/or long term disability insurance, holidays, personal use of company equipment i.e. tablet or laptop, training/development. Leave enough room to pencil in some values to help you effectively weigh all the options. What are the common benefits that are essential to you and which of those intangible types just icing on the cake. Prioritizing each component of an offer and knowing what’s valuable to you and your family will go a long way in helping sort out the right choice.

 

If you decide that job offer isn’t right for you after all, start back at square one with excellent opportunities every day on AgCareers.com.