How to Make Right Summer Job and Employee Benefit Choices
Getting a Good Summer Job Offer That Includes Above-Average Benefits
The summer can be an opportune time to start looking for a part time or temporary job. For the thousands of new college grads, it’s also a time to find paid internships that can lead to long term employment with top organizations. According to a spring 2017 study conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, summer hiring is expected to be up this year, with some 41 percent of employers indicating that they planned to hire seasonal employees for the summer — a jump of nearly 30 percent over 2016 figures.
On top of that, 79 percent of employers said that will be considering hiring some of their summer employees on permanently, which is up from 76% last year.
Summer Jobs Often Come With Outstanding Benefits and Perks
At the same time, there are rampant skill shortages and lower than average unemployment numbers, which makes it a candidate-driven job market. Companies are mindful of this, therefore offering more than just average salaries. Smart job seekers should be mindful then of looking for jobs that not only offer great starting pay and the opportunity to be hired on full time, but also companies that are known for offering unique employee benefits and perks. For example, many summer jobs offer flexible work schedules, the chance to work outdoors, get free admission to state parks and amusement centers, offer free food and beverages, free movie passes, and more.
But this is just touching the surface of the many benefits that companies offer to summer staffers.
Companies may offer many of the same money-saving benefits to part time and summer workers as they do for full time regular employees. Organizations have learned that it's far better to offer cost-effective benefits to new hires to retain them for the long term, rather than deal with high rates of turnover. Summer employees can be a valuable source of talent for any company.
For example, a 2016 survey of Fortune 1000 companies conducted by CEB (now owned by Gartner), indicated that 42 percent of companies now allow employees to leave early on Fridays as a benefit. In 2015, only around 21 percent allowed this. Summer Fridays allow employees to experience more work-life balance and enjoy the beautiful weather, plus it gives them something to look forward to.
A BenefitsPro survey found that more companies are encouraging flextime and want employees to take advantage of earned paid time off in the summer. Companies that want to retain more workers also give summer staffers the opportunity to earn paid time off by working a certain amount of hours or covering for other employees.
College credits and professional credit units are always good incentives for those still developing their careers. An added bonus comes when the job actually pays too. Each year, thousands of students take on internships that pay either stipends, bonuses, or hourly wages on top of issuing college credits for learning.
According to HRBenefitsalert.com, there are a number of free and low cost employee benefits that employers offer to summer hires. These can range from commuter benefits (reimbursement for transportation or free bus passes), onsite daycare for working parents, free wellness benefits and fitness support, corporate discount programs for regional services, family events, and more.
Getting the Best Summer Job Offers With Benefits
The best time to start searching for a summer job with benefits is as soon as possible. Create a resume designed for the summer job search, and leverage your skills. This is a resume that highlights your best qualities, your career goals, and your achievements. If you have had any summer jobs in the past, indicate this in your resume.
Access summer job opportunities through online job boards and job matching services. Many offer the opportunity to pre-screen resumes for content to increase the chances of being reviewed by a recruiting company. Keywords such as ‘summer employment’ and ‘summer work’ can aid in this search. Connect with community job placement services about new opportunities with area companies. Use your social networks to build connections with recruiters.
Negotiating for the Best Summer Employee Benefits
As you review the job postings for summer jobs, you will likely not see many benefits posted in advertisements. However, this does not mean that the jobs are without benefits. It means you will be presented with this information during the interview phase, if you remember to ask. This is mainly because employers assume that only full time permanent employees will be inquiring about benefits. There are a few ways you can learn about and then effectively negotiate with employers about benefits.
Review the Company Career Portal for Benefits Information
When applying for summer work, it’s always a good practice to review the company website, particularly the career portal. Not only will you see information about current job postings, you will see information about the corporate culture and any benefits that are offered to employees. If you don't see this information, shoot an email to the company or pick up the phone and inquire about benefits for summer hires. A good point of contact in the human resource or benefits administrative office should be able to shed light on any summer employee benefits or perks offered.
Get Inside Information From Current Employees
Job seekers also have the opportunity to learn more about companies offering summer benefits by using their social networks to talk with current employees. LinkedIn can often be a good source for this information, as is the company review site Glassdoor. Learn what benefits are most offered to employees and use this information to negotiate for the best benefits this summer. Understand that some benefits may not apply to part time workers, interns or those on temporary contracts. There may be different benefits offered for those working under these arrangements.
Find Support From a Temp Staffing Agency
Oftentimes, companies turn to staffing agencies to locate talent in the summer months. To take advantage of this, get registered with temp agencies and indicate to the staffing management team that you are looking for a job with maximum benefit potential. Create a goal around your need for benefits. For example, maybe you are trying to find a way to pay down debt. Therefore benefits that help you put away extra funds in a company-matched savings plan would be ideal. Or you may find a company that offers you the chance to reduce costs for travel with a company discount plan, if you want to take a vacation later in the year.
Recruitment teams are used to negotiating for the best salary and benefits for candidates, so it’s easier coming from them to the client.
Ask for the Benefits You Want
Once you have registered for jobs, or have sent in your application for employment — you should start getting invited for interviews. Experts in recruitment say it’s a good idea to have a list of questions to ask during the interview. Make sure you have at least one interview question about employee benefits. Ask what kind of benefits are available for summer employees and if you can take advantage of any of the perks that regular full time employees enjoy. You can redirect the conversation around one of your personal goals, as indicated above, to make questions more logical.
Its important to note here that employee benefits are offered by companies to make the work experience of employees more productive and healthy. Any benefits offered are not mandatory, except for those that fall under current health insurance and retirement savings plan laws. Never assume that you will receive the same benefits as a regular or full time employee. There may also be a brief waiting period to become eligible for benefits, which is standard practice with most companies. Take advantage of benefits that are offered to you since this is an added bonus of being employed in the summer.
Make sure to keep track of your expenses and turn in any receipts or medical claims before the summer term is completed to avoid losing these benefits.