In Job Search, Some Bonuses Are Unexpected

In Job Search, Some Bonuses Are Unexpected

Charleston Gazette - December 14, 2001

     When you're looking for a job, salary usually is the No. 1 consideration. But money isn't always everything.And that's something new graduates and job switchers increasingly are aware of, even in a labor market where job opportunities are less plentiful. "Although a good starting salary is important, graduating college students are most interested in jobs that offer room for advancement, a good benefits package and the opportunity for continuing education or training," reports the National Association of Colleges and Employers in Bethlehem, Pa. The association interviewed 1,000 prospective grads for its annual survey.
    Surprisingly, "opportunity for advancement" was the No. 1 choice - with a "signing bonus," which was so important to new hires only a few years ago, dead last. "What's happening is that people really want to like what they're doing," said Mimi Collins, a spokesperson for the association. "They want to enjoy their work."And that requirement may be just as important as Big Bucks. And it's not just new grads who feel that way. It's almost everyone.
    Even though fair compensation usually is ranked No. 1 when employees are asked to list the best companies to work for, it's significant that salary is followed by "opportunities, job security, pride in work and company, openness and fairness and camaraderie on the job," according to Nancy S. Ahlrichs, the author of "Competing for Talent" (Davies-Black, $32.95). Employers are beginning to see that the keen interest in compensation that characterized the previous generation of job seekers has undergone a dramatic change. Today, new grads and job changers feel much freer to ask about and negotiate for other benefits and perks, such as medical, dental, retirement and insurance - all of which, particularly comprehensive health care, add up to money in the bank. Still, there's no denying that the value system of many job hunters has shifted.
    "Money does matter to employees but it doesn't matter as much as employers still expect it to," said Ray Baumruk, benefits consultant at Hewitt Associates, a global management consulting and outsourcing firm with headquarters in Lincolnshire, Ill. Baumruk, who has a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering and a master's in marketing and strategic management, urges job seekers, when considering benefits, "to make sure you get the basics - health care, retirement and other insurance you need. And then, think about what's important in your life: You might want to trade bonuses or a higher salary for flextime, child care, educational reimbursement or more training. What's more important than pay is creating a good working situation." He encourages job hunters to "look for an organization that delivers benefits that match those you want."
    No matter how altruistic it may sound to make quality of life more important than annual income, job hunters still should "make sure the money is there before considering the other options," said Paul J. Gonzales, managing principal of Compensation Services, Inc., a consulting firm in Itasca, Ill., and president of the Chicago Compensation Association. "Your salary should be equitable. It's a way of measuring self-worth and you'll be unhappy in your job if you're dissatisfied. You also need enough money to maintain your style of living."
    Gonzales, whose firm has a branch in Orlando, Fla., has an MBA and teaches compensation courses at National-Louis University. He has four children and says he, too, has seen the emphasis shift among his own children to quality of life from annual salaries.

"It's good to place other values above pay - but don't ignore pay," he warns.

(C) 2001 Charleston Gazette. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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Last Update : 17/07/2004

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