A job is designed to meet our financial needs, but these days, perks matter almost as much as salary. According to a recent Glassdoor survey, around 60% of respondents said they strongly consider the perks and benefits being offered by a company before accepting a job offer.
But which are the most important perks and how much do they cost? Might you perhaps be overlooking some critical benefits that are actually worth a fortune? Let’s have a look.
“This is probably the most important job perk that employees overlook. In the United States, employer-sponsored health insurance is a huge benefit,” said James Allen, CFEI, CPA, financial advisor and founder of BillPin.
“According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average annual premium for family health insurance plans was $18,764 in 2018. That’s a lot of money that employees would have to pay out-of-pocket if they didn’t have employer-sponsored health insurance.”
“Employer-sponsored retirement plans, like 401(k)s, can be worth a lot of money over time,” Allen said. “For example, let’s say you have a 401(k) with an employer match of 50%. If you contribute $10,000 to your 401(k) each year for 20 years, your total contribution will be $200,000. But when you retire, you’ll have $300,000 in your account thanks to the employer match. That’s an extra $100,000 that you wouldn’t have if you didn’t have a 401(k).”
“When you hear of employers offering one to 3-month fully paid sabbaticals for tenured employees that hit 7- or 10-year milestones with the company, that’s huge considering Americans rarely take more than 5 consecutive days off,” said William Stonehouse III, president and co-founder of Crawford Thomas Recruiting. “The monetary value of this perk is 1 to 3 months of salary pay, but actual value to the employee could be much higher.”
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“Mental health is a hot topic so companies prioritizing access to in-person or telehealth services is a big trend since many health insurance plans don’t do enough to provide the coverage people need or may need in the future,” Stonehouse III said.
“People may not be in an emotional or mental health crisis at the time they start a job or are first reviewing benefits, so this is easily forgotten. A growing number of companies are offering free access to on-demand therapy apps that connect you with a live therapist such as Ginger or BetterHelp. Some companies that understand the value of mental health services are going above and beyond by offering reimbursement for out of network providers so employees can use the provider of their choice. It’s common for a minimum of 10 sessions to be covered but I have even seen companies not set an annual limit. The average cost of a therapy session in the US is $100 so on the low end this is a $1,000 benefit.”
Child Care Reimbursement
“We have seen companies offer to reimburse for child care,” Stonehouse III said. “This could be worth as much as $2,000+ per child per month. Child care costs are steep and can sometimes discourage parents from staying in the workforce.”
Daily Commute Reimbursement
“Many companies with a strong in-office requirement are providing employees with daily commute reimbursement,” Stonehouse III said. “This ranges from paying public transportation costs, reimbursing Uber rides in bigger cities, or just a flat monthly rate for driving to the office. We have seen this be worth as little as $150 per month to $500 depending on what is being covered.”
“One small, but valuable job perk that employees overlook is credits for lunch,” said Brittany Mendez, CMO of Florida Panhandle. “Our company offers $50 credits in food delivery services each week to each employee. On average, there are four weeks in a month, which means that they get $200 in food each month. Over a year, that’s around $3,000 that they’ve saved in food expenses for work.”
“Corporate discounts allow employees to save money on products and services such as travel, clothing, electronics [and] home goods that they regularly purchase with access to discounts that they would not have otherwise,” said Dr. Wanita Mercer, founder and CEO of Lead My Heart Executive Coaching and Consulting.
“These discounts can be offered on a wide range of products and services. Corporate discount perks can provide a significant financial benefit to employees by reducing their expenses. Employees could save hundreds of dollars each month depending on the discounts available to them.”
“Company-organized trips are a great perk for employees who love to travel but simply can’t afford to [be] outside of work,” Mercer said. “By companies planning the trips, they have an opportunity to enhance company culture and team dynamics, develop employee’s cultural intelligence, and incorporate service learning. According to pacaso.com, the average vacation trip costs $1,919 per week for one person. So, providing trips for free or at a major discount is a great perk.”
“Gen Zs and millennials desire greater awareness and development of themselves, their goals and skills to help advance their career and live a more fulfilling life,” Mercer said. “As such, providing employees with free or discounted access to life coaches, career mentors and online courses helps them to be stronger and more efficient team members and saves them anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars per year. For example, life coaching costs upwards of $300 per month as a low-end average.”
Flexible Work Schedules
“Flexible work hours are a good work perk because they allow employees to better balance their work and personal responsibilities by providing them with the ability to set their own schedules,” Mercer said. “This can include working from home, flexible start and end times, and reduced or condensed workweeks. Flexible work does not typically cost employers, but it can potentially save employees $700 to $1,000 or more per month on commuting, child care and other expenses associated with traditional work hours.”
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