When perks are better than a higher salary

Employee perks vs higher salary

Find the balance between salary and perks when deciding on a job offer.

Most job seekers will say that money is the most important factor in whether or not to take a job. And while you obviously shouldn't accept a job that either doesn't pay you at all or pays significantly less than what you could get elsewhere, if you're too focused on that salary number, you may overlook other valuable take-homes companies may be offering – employee benefits and perks.

Don't neglect benefits

Nearly every job offer you entertain will likely include some sort of employee benefits package. And since determining the value of a benefits package can be a little more involved than just looking at overall salary, you may be tempted to pay them less attention. This is a huge mistake.

The quality of benefits like health, dental and vision insurance can have a major impact on your quality of life – potentially even more than baseline salary. Having a good retirement plan or 401(k) may not seem important when you're young, but may ultimately determine when and how you retire later in life.

Save money with perks

You want to make more money. Pretty much everyone does. But take a step back and examine why. What do you want or need that additional income for? A lot of employee perks are designed to help you reach the very goals you might put that extra cash toward.

When taken full advantage of, perks that save you money can be just as good as a bump in salary. Company discounts on gym memberships, exercise equipment, cell phone plans, or travel fares may not seem like that sweet of a deal, but over time they can add up to some major savings.

Satisfaction may be in the intangibles

If you were so inclined, putting a cash value on most benefits and perks would be pretty straightforward. For example, an extra week of PTO is roughly equivalent to an extra week's salary (time is money, after all). However, some perks are more difficult to put a price tag on – but that doesn't mean they shouldn't factor in your decision.

Things like a casual dress code, mentorship and professional development opportunities and, above all, a flexible schedule are popular among workers not because of the impact on their bank accounts, but because of the impact on their quality of life.

Find the right balance for you

Everyone is different, and the right job offer for you may be completely unacceptable to someone else. What's important is that you weigh every part of a job offer – salary, benefits, PTO, monetary perks and intangible perks – when making your decision.

Find out the differences between salary and hourly pay.