Employee Perks You Can Negotiate in a Job Offer
When you negotiate a job offer, you’re not just haggling over the number on your paycheck. The benefits and perks that come with your salary can make a big difference in terms of how much money you keep in your bank account each month.
That said, a lot of the big-ticket items that go into making up your compensation are non-negotiable: you’ll likely choose your health insurance plan, for example, from among a few options that are pre-determined by your employer.
No amount of haggling will get you a plan that offers lower copays or zero deductibles, because the employer has already made their decision about what to offer employees on that front. The same goes for dental, vision, 401(k) match, and other employee benefits. For the most part, what you see is what you get.
But that doesn’t mean that every cash-saving, earnings-boosting perk is set in stone. There are several employee perks that might be on the table, and could boost your bottom line.
More Stock Options or a Higher Bonus
When cash budgets are closed, hiring managers sometimes still have a little wiggle room to raise your compensation in other ways. Two possibilities: more stock options or a better bonus.
These are an easier sell than a higher salary because neither raises your base pay, which means that your future raises won’t be higher as a result. They’re also slightly risky for you, the prospective employee, because they depend on things outside your control, like the market when your company goes public/sells in the case of stock or the company’s financial success during the year in the case of a bonus.
Still, if you can’t get the hiring manager to boost your salary, one of these options might make you money down the line. It’s worth a try, especially if you don’t trade salary to get them.
Extra Vacation Time
A recent study from Harris Group found that younger workers prefer to spend their money on experiences, rather than things. That’s all well and good, but if you only get a few paid days off per year, you won’t have time to get those experiences.
The best part is, increased vacation time is an easy sell. I can tell you anecdotally that I know several people who’ve negotiated for more time off, especially when they asked for more money first and came up against the upper limit of a hiring manager’s budget.
A Flexible Schedule
Does it feel like every time you leave the house, $20 claws its way out of your wallet and flaps off over the horizon, never to be seen again? Commuting is expensive, and not just because you have to pay for gas or bus fare. All the tiny expenses that you incur when you go from your house to the office — dry cleaning, coffee, lunch — add up over time.
We’ve all read advice urging would-be savers to cut out the fancy coffee and save hundreds of dollars a year. If you can convince your future boss to let you work at home a day or two a week, you can keep your fancy coffee, make it yourself, and drink it in your pajamas while you work.
Telecommuting, at least some of the time, is one of the perks job candidates like the most. 77 percent of workers surveyed by staffing firm Robert Half were more likely to accept a job if they could work from home at least some of the time.
Flextime is another perk that’s a low-stress ask, because like added vacation time, it costs the employer nothing to let you have it. However, it saves you money and might improve your quality of life as well.
The big educational benefits are non-negotiable, for the most part — you’re not going to convince most employers to pay for your MBA unless they already have a tuition reimbursement program. But degrees aren’t the only educational benefits that can help you build your career.
Online learning programs like Lynda and Team Treehouse offer a chance to brush up on your technical skills without making time to get to class. Many companies have corporate accounts to programs like these to help their employees stay up-to-date. It’s worth asking if your prospective employer already subscribes — or would consider doing so.
An Earlier Review
Compared to some of the other perks on this list, an earlier review sounds downright boring. But don’t dismiss it out of hand. If you can negotiate to have your first review in six months instead of a year, for example, you might accelerate your first raise and/or bonus. Also, you’ll find out if your assessment of your goals and achievements matches your manager’s.
That’s important to know when you’re deciding whether you want to stay with your new employer for the foreseeable future — or continue evaluating opportunities elsewhere.