When you’re searching for a job, how flexible are you with the salary offered? When judging the potential earnings of a prospective new role, very few of us will look past the salary being offered. However, if you are choosing to apply (or not apply) for jobs based on salary alone, you may be missing out.

Many employers will now offer some sort of benefits package. The scope of this can vary greatly from company to company, and so it makes sense when checking job ads to look at this alongside the salary and to factor this in as a whole. Company benefits can often be worth far more than a higher salary.

Core Benefits Vs Additional Benefits

When weighing up the worth of any individual company’s benefits, it’s important to recognise the differences in benefit type. Typically, a company’s benefits will fall in to one of two categories - either core benefits or additional benefits. Core benefits are available with all employers and are a legal requirement in the UK. So, if a company is advertising them as an additional perk, you should be aware that they are legally obliged to offer them anyway. In the UK, core benefits are:

A workplace pension

This is a scheme in which an employer sets up and contributes to an employee’s retirement fund. Since 2012, all employees are auto-enrolled on to a company pension scheme, though you can opt out if you wish. If enrolled, contributions to a workplace pension must be a minimum of 8% of qualifying earnings, and at least 3% must be paid by the employer. You may find that some employers offer an enhanced scheme where they will contribute more than this.

Holiday pay

The majority of UK employees are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks holiday per year. This usually works out as 28 days, but for part time employees this would be pro-rated. Anything offered above this amount could be seen as additional income, so this is an important thing to take note of when judging the worth of a role.

Additional benefits or ‘perks’ are schemes offered by companies to make workplaces more appealing, and can greatly improve employee wellbeing and satisfaction. When it comes to additional benefits offered by any one company, there is a vast range on offer and no two companies will have the exact same perks. Let’s look at some of the most popular optional benefits offered by UK employers.

Employee Discount Schemes

These come in many forms. This could be a generous discount on the products sold by the company you work for, or even the occasional freebie. Wider discount schemes such as Perkbox are also becoming more popular, which are discount schemes that offer employees generous savings not only on the products of their own company, but also on things like cinema tickets, holidays, days out, high street stores and eating out. If these are things you plan to do anyway, you could find that the savings offered by these schemes amount to a considerable financial benefit.

Medical/Dental Plans

Many companies now offer private healthcare and dental plans which, depending on how much you use them, could be worth thousands of pounds, and give you access to high qualigty treatment that you may not otherwise have had the budget to access. Many of these plans allow you to include spouses and children too, meaning the whole family can access fast, streamlined, quality care.

Free food/drinks

Anyone who uses their lunchbreak to grab a meal deal or a coffee from a local seller will know how quickly work food and drink costs can mount up! The average UK employee spends around £10-£15 on food and drink at work per week - over the year that could be more than £500! So when employers provide free food or drink on site, this can amount to a huge saving.

Free or subsidised travel

Unless you work from home, or within walking distance of your place of work, commuting costs are likely one of the biggest - if not the biggest - expense associated with your working day. So when companies offer to offset this cost, it can be a big help. Companies may also offer loans for annual travel tickets, which you then pay back as a salary sacrifice. This can amount to a huge saving. In Nottingham, for example, paying for 5 day passes per week to use the tram could cost you in excess of £1000 per year, whereas an annual tram pass costs just £525.00 per year*. So you can see how much value there is in companies offering this perk.

Learning and Development allowances

Many companies now offer an annual learning budget to their employees, so that they can gain a qualification of their choosing. Most of the time this will need to be a qualification related to your role, but some may be flexible on this. This can be great if you’ve been thinking of gaining a specific qualification but are lacking the funds to do so. As well as improving the skills you use in your role, becoming better qualified can also open up your earnings and promotion potential. So if a company offers this fund as a perk, it’s worth looking at!

So, how do you find a balance between salary offered and perks of the job? Well the reality is that different things will suit different people’s lifestyles so it’s important to weigh up how the benefits will help you personally. If some of your personal or household needs can be catered for by a company benefit you may find that this is of more value to you than a simple wage increase. On the other hand, a higher wage may be better for your circumstances, and bring you greater job satisfaction. What’s important is that you do what’s right for you - remember that it’s just as important for a potential role or company to be a good fit to your lifestyle as it is for you to be a good fit for their team.

 

If you’re looking for the perfect role to suit you, why not give us a call today on 01332 638035