Getting a job offer is exciting. You may have spent months pounding the pavement, networking and interviewing. Now you can see all your hard work has paid off.
Most people look at how much they will be paid, the health benefits, and how much vacation they’re entitled too. But experts say new hires should also look beyond those and ask for more. These are called non-salary benefits, and in the long run can make a big difference in your day-to-day work life.
For example, flexible work hours mean you are able to leave early and finish work in the evening, giving you the ability to be home in time to be with your family. A free gym pass can improve your physical and mental wellbeing without it impacting your finances, and a pre-paid parking spot can save you a lot of money over time.
Meghan Reid, a psychologist and career coach with Canada Career Counselling, she says these are just some of the examples of non-salary perks new hires can ask for when negotiating. Non-salary perks can be customized for employees and are a great way to get more without asking for more pay.
“Having the flexibility to work from home is huge for working moms and dads. The other is around start time. Sometimes a parent needs to start work at a certain time or come in later.” Reid says.
“Non-salary perks help workers live in better alignment with their values, whether it’s work life balance or better access to career development. Whatever it is, if workers are getting it, they will find their time at work really fulfilling and motivating. But, if your workplace is not in aligned with your values, basically the opposite happens. A person can start feeling stuck and undervalued. That can hurt productivity and lead to burnout and depression.”
Reid says the best time to ask for a non-salary perk is when the potential employer calls you back for a second interview. Raising these questions at the first meeting may be seen as unprofessional but waiting until the job offer may be too late. You really have to find that sweet spot.
Gordon Frost, a partner Mercer, a global consulting firm, says that their annual report called the Canadian Compensation Planning Survey provides information to clients to help them make better decisions about benefits and pay for their employees.
This year, the survey found that, going into 2020, companies do not have the budget to offer significantly more compensation. Frost says this makes it even more important for job candidates to ask for non–salary perks.
“Unfortunately, for most Canadians, we are not seeing employers opening the flood gates for salary increases,” Frost says. “Non-salary benefits are becoming the key deciding factor for job candidates.” He says one-size-fits-all job offers no longer work.
To get a sense of what kind of non-salary perks are available in your industry, Reid recommends that you do some research by asking friends and colleagues. Then, make a list of all the potential perks and decide which ones are most desirable to you. You may not get everything you ask for, but you will likely get more than if you didn’t ask. Remember to value, not only on the cash, but also more autonomous time and less stress by selecting the right job perks.