Compensation and benefits have long been two major deciding factors for jobseekers. According to a study conducted by CareerPlug, 19% of jobseekers who reported declining a job offer did so because the benefits and compensation did not meet their expectations.
While salary and pay usually take priority, employee benefits are becoming increasingly important to jobseekers who are looking for perks that go above and beyond the standard offerings. As generational values shift towards inclusive workplace cultures, flexibility, and purpose, employers are offering a wide range of extra perks to recruit and retain their workforce.
What are employee benefits?
Health insurance and a 401(k) are probably two of the big things that come to mind when you hear employee benefits. While these are two of the most common perks that employers offer, they are far from the only benefits that companies extend to their employees.
An employee benefit is anything paid or given to an employee beyond their normal salary or wages. This also includes indirect, non-cash offerings. Benefits can be anything from paid time off to a fully-stocked kitchen in the office.
Some benefits may be required by state or federal law. These include but are not limited to:
- Unemployment benefits
- Workers’ compensation
- Social Security and Medicare tax payments
- Time off for voting, jury duty, or other civic duties
Other offerings are completely optional. Many employers find, however, that offering these benefits is extremely advantageous. Employees with generous benefits often experience increased job satisfaction, increased productivity, and a healthier work-life balance.
Benefits for employees that workplaces may offer
If you’re currently on the hunt for a new job, you may find yourself wondering what perks would benefit you most. Here’s a list of offerings found in today’s workplaces.
As individual and family health insurance costs in the United States continue to climb, more job hunters are looking for workplaces that offer employer-sponsored health insurance plans.
With an employer-sponsored plan, your employer will select and purchase a group policy to offer eligible employees and their dependents. Typically, the company will pay for all or a portion of your monthly premium.
Some employers won’t offer a group plan but still wish to contribute to their employees’ health care expenses. There are ways to do this through special accounts known as health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).
Other insurance offerings
Employers can also offer other types of insurance to their employees such as life insurance or disability insurance policies.
Employee benefits aren’t just about meeting your present-day needs— they’re also about setting you up for the future. Employee-sponsored retirement plans like 401(k)s help employees save a nest egg for when their work is done.
Employer-sponsored plans come with a number of benefits that other retirement plans may not offer, such as tax benefits and eligibility for employer matching. With matching, your employer will match your contributions up to a certain amount or percentage every year. Even if you leave the job before you retire, you get to keep what your employer has contributed, provided that you are fully vested.
Paid time off
Time away from the office or computer is key to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Some common forms of paid time off include:
- Days off for federally- and company-recognized holidays
- Paid maternity and paternity leave
- Sick leave
- Vacation days
Structures for paid time off (PTO) can vary from organization to organization. Some employers offer unlimited PTO while others may give their employees a set number of days per year or month. Others use accrual methods that give you more time off the longer that you are with the company.
Remote or flexible work options
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work and flexible work arrangements have become increasingly popular. One study found that a whopping 97% of employees don’t want to return to the office full-time post-pandemic.
In response to COVID safety measures and employee desires, many employers have gone fully remote or offer flexibility in workplace location.
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If you have gotten used to having your furry friend beside you all day, you might be looking to bring them with you when you return to the office. Some workplaces offer dog-friendly offices where Fido is welcome.
Workplaces that offer financial planning may provide dedicated financial advisors to work one-on-one with their employees to help them reach their personal financial goals and plan for the future.
Professional development and education opportunities
Many employers see investing in their employees’ professional development and education as an investment back into the company. Tuition assistance, certification offerings, professional development courses, and stipends for education-related expenses are a few of the ways that companies can encourage educational opportunities.
Student loan assistance
For recent grads with a hefty student loan balance, paying your debt down may be a top priority. Some employers help their employees out by contributing to their student loan repayment.
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Getting to and from work every day can add up quickly. Transportation stipends offset the costs associated with public transportation, parking, bike maintenance, and more.
Healthy lifestyle incentives
It’s in a company’s best interest to keep its employees mentally and physically well. Healthy lifestyle incentives can come in many forms, including:
- Fitness class offerings
- On-site gym
- Off-site gym membership stipend
- Free wellness screenings and checkups
- Annual flu shots
- Mental health resources
Stocked kitchen and company meals
Can’t go without your afternoon coffee? A fully-stocked kitchen with snacks and beverages might be a little bonus that you’re looking for. Some companies also take this a step further and offer food perks like weekly catered lunches.
Explore employers with benefits that matter most to you
Some benefits on this list may be a priority in your job search. Others may be an added bonus, but not necessarily a must-have. At JobSage, we want jobseekers to find employers that value the things that matter most to them. Visit our Reviews page to find employment opportunities that speak to you.