Evaluating and Negotiating Job Offers
Part 6 – Other Perks

(This is the final part of the series on Evaluating and Negotiating Job Offers. You may also find these other parts of interest: Part1: Base Salary, Part2: Signing Bonus and Relocation Benefits, Part3: Stock Options, Part4: 401K, Part5: ESPP.)

We finally look a list of other possible perks. Not all these perks will be a part of all offer packages. Many of them are dependent on company policy. Most of them are non-negotiable.

  • Annual Bonus: This is sometimes also referred as performance bonus. How much the annual bonus will be, depends on some sort of a formula based on the company’s performance, your division's performance and finally your individual performance. Your individual performance may be tied to certain goals that you set when you do your first review (Eg. On time software delivery, high sales numbers etc.). Check with your HR if your company offers bonus and if you will be considered for one during your first year.

  • Insurance Benefits: This is one of the biggest perks of being a full time employee. Most companies offer reasonably good insurance benefits to full time employees that covers medical, dental, vision, life insurance, disability insurance, prescription plan etc. Note, however, that if you are hired as a contractor or a consultant, your package may not offer insurance benefits. Some companies these days have started offering HSA(more on this later) accounts. If you are young and not likely to spend much on medical expenses, this may be a good way to put aside some money for future medical expenses.

  • Paid Time Off: Once you get used to the super-flexi student schedule, going to work with its strict 9-to-way-after-5 schedule can be hard. Believe me. It’s close to six months since I started working and still, most morning when the alarm rings, I long for the good 'old days in school :) Paid time off (PTO), vacation and holidays are god send. (During the first year, it may not be wise to use your personal leave, though). In most companies, the number of days that you get off every year depends on the number of years you have spent with that company. According to this article, based on a 2003 survey by Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), here is what you can expect

    Less than one year
    Paid vacation 6.28
    Paid Time Off 13.24

    One to less than two years
    Paid vacation 10.53
    Paid Time Off 16.58

    Two to less than three years
    Paid vacation 11.01
    Paid Time Off 17.40

    Three to less than five years
    Paid vacation 12.02
    Paid Time Off 18.55

    Five to less than 10 years
    Paid vacation 15.18
    Paid Time Off 22.04

    Ten or more years
    Paid vacation 18.65
    Paid Time Off 25.30

    It’s a relatively old survey, but I doubt any earth shattering changes have happened over the past few years. My work place offers me around 21 days off per year.

  • Education Reimbursement: I know that when you graduate and join a job, going back to school might be the last thing on your mind. But after a few months or years in the job, you may start to realize the value of a Masters degree or an MBA or some form of a certification program to forward your career. When that happens, you will be mighty glad if your company offers education reimbursement. Not all companies offer this, and even when they do, it may not cover full 100% cost. It may also come with some strings attached about what grades you should be getting or may require you to sign a contract for working a certain number of years after the completion of the degree.

  • Reimbursement for technical society memberships: I have heard of a few tech companies offering to reimburse the membership fees for joining tech societies like IEEE. Once you are no longer a student, your membership dues go up quite drastically, and these reimbursements can be quite handy.

  • Reimbursement for health club memberships: Several employers have some program or the other to help employees stay healthy. These may include discounted memberships to health club, free medical screenings, free flu shots etc. While evaluating multiple offers, this may be a good metric to figuring out how "caring" the different employers are.

  • Onsite daycare: With the increase in the number of families with dual careers, several companies offer onsite day care, or subsidize the day care costs at nearby day care centers. One of my friends works for a large networking company in the bay area and said that her employer not only offered onsite day care, but a video feed of her child in the day care center! Now that might be something not many employers offer, but if you have children or they are in your horizon, you might want to check this out.

  • Employee discounts: Several companies offer employee discounts of 10 to 20% to its employees for buying the company’s products through the intranet. Since this blog discourages buying "stuff", I will not delve into this any more :)

And if you get that coveted job at Google, in addition to all this, you can get several additional benefits such as free gourmet cafes, shuttle
service, oil change and car washes, and onsite laundry!

So there, we have covered most financial aspects of a job offer. Remember, eventually none of these might matter if you don't like the job, or the work environment is not condusive or you do not like the location. So, choose well and choose wisely. And once you pick a job, make it the best job you ever had! Good Luck.

(PS: If you have any other benefits not covered in any of this series of posts, will you please be kind enough to share it with me and the other readers? Thanks!).

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