5 benefits to negotiate beyond just salary when you're considering a job offer


Once you get a job offer, your first step is to negotiate that salary ― that's crucial, and the company will be expecting it. But don't stop there.

Employee benefits represent more than a third of your total compensation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you're not negotiating those and other elements of the job, you could be missing out on valuable extras.

"You need to go into your negotiation with a game plan and figure out, 'What are the top three things I'm going to ask for?'" says Vicki Salemi, a career expert for Monster. Prepare your case for a few changes in the package, including two to three benefit tweaks.

"Hiring managers are more surprised when you don't negotiate than when you do," she says. "The No. 1 rule of negotiation is, it's not optional."

Beyond salary, here are a few points to negotiate on your next job offer.

6 additional job benefits you should negotiate for

Video by Courtney Stith

1. A signing bonus

As many as 28% of companies budget for sign-on bonuses, according to a 2016 study by human resources nonprofit WorldatWork. If your new employer is unable to offer a salary as high you'd like, it might be worth it to ask if they'd consider that kind of bonus.

Claire Wasserman, founder of career development platform Ladies Get Paid, suggests saying something like, "Because you weren't able to get to the salary I wanted, I think a signing bonus is a fair compromise. What do you think?" Certified financial planner Shannah Compton Game told Grow last year that she suggests asking for a signing bonus that's equivalent to 5% to 10% of your base salary.

2. Flexible work options

These days, it's not unusual for employees to work at least partly from home. More than 40% of organizations offer part-time telecommuting, according to a 2019 survey by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), which surveyed 2,763 human resources professionals in a variety of fields. If you know commuting to your new office could get costly or take up a lot of your time, bring it up.

Salemi suggests saying something like, "Given my current personal situation, I'm actually more productive if I'm at home two days a week."

3. Extra paid time off

Paid leave can cover anything from sick leave to vacation time to personal days. In 2017, employees in the private sector with at least five years' experience received an average of 15 vacation days per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If your new employer is offering less vacation time than you have received in previous jobs, bring it up during the negotiation process.

Go into your negotiation with a game plan and figure out what are the top three things I'm going to ask for.
Vicki Salemi
Career expert for Monster

4. Professional development

Leadership seminars, skill set courses, conferences ― all of these could be on the negotiating table as part of your new job's package if they're a priority for you. These can help you excel in your new job and, more importantly, could help you develop new skills for future opportunities.

Leverage your current job and its various career development opportunities "to be in a good position for whatever the next step is," says Wasserman.

5. Small perks

These days, companies offer a unique and wide array of day-to-day perks to engage their workforce. Amazon and Airbnb let employees bring their pets to work, for instance, while companies like PayPal and Walmart give employees paid time off to vote. If you think a specific benefit could help you do your job better, it can't hurt to ask.

Coming into a job negotiation prepared and ready to ask for what you deserve can help set you up for success. "It isn't that complicated," says Wasserman. "It's just about getting the courage to say it."

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