What do you think of when you hear the term “employee benefits”? While health insurance and 401K are the go-to responses for most, the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) 2016 Employee Benefits Research Report found there are approximately 350 different benefits being offered by today’s employers. That’s a 60% increase from 10 years ago. Why the jump? According to a recent article on Monster.com, creative benefits offerings attract talented job candidates, which is great for employers. However, if you, yourself, are the talented candidate evaluating job offers, it’s important to think about the actual value these benefits provide, particularly if your needs have changed due to cancer. Here’s how:
- Identify your top five priorities for today and tomorrow. What are your “must haves” in terms of benefits? Sure, subsidized daycare may sound amazing, but is that more valuable to you than being able to telecommute on days you don’t feel great? There may also be perks that you could really use, such as knowing the size of the staff at your potential new gig is large enough that you can access legal protections under the FMLA or ADA. Focusing on your most important needs will keep you from being drawn in by benefits you might never require.
- Before you accept any job offer, find the truth behind the benefit. Unlimited days off may sound like a dream come true, but how many days, on average, do employees at your prospective new company actually take per year? If it’s more or less on par with the standard 20 days that most organizations offer, then perhaps it’s not useful as it seems. Also, be sure to consider timing when asking about available benefits. Too many questions about perks before there is an offer on the table may send up red flags for hiring managers.
- Evaluate base salary against bonuses. The fact is, the only payment we can count on from employers is our base salary. Not only is it the number that any future raises are based on, but, unlike bonuses, it can’t be adjusted down. Think long and hard about whether it’s worth it to trade a consistently higher base salary with growth potential for a onetime or discretionary bonus — particularly if you are looking to rebuild your finances after cancer.
For more information on looking for work after cancer, check out the CAC resources below: