In our current hiring market, a comprehensive job benefits package—in addition to a good salary—is essential for attracting and retaining top talent. About 60 percent of people report that benefits and perks are a major factor in considering whether to accept a job offer, and 80 percent of employees would choose additional benefits over a pay raise. And not only are job benefits good for employees, they help build a positive reputation among companies as well.
Keep in mind, though, that frivolous perks like lunches made by a professional chef, biweekly chair massages, and on-site acupuncture don’t make up for real, generous job benefits. Remote work, increased child care and household responsibilities, and widespread burnout due to the pandemic have drastically altered what women want and need from their employers. Our data shows that women care most about Flexible Work Hours, Salary Satisfaction, and Ability to Telecommute right now, just a handful of possible job benefits.
Below are 20 job benefits that you can get at a new job, what they mean, and how to negotiate them.
Job benefits for schedule and flexibility
Paid time off
Paid time off (PTO) is an umbrella term that covers a variety of reasons for needing time off, including sick days, mental health days, holidays, personal days, and so on. Companies either separate PTO out by the reason and amount of days (i.e. 14 vacation days and five sick days) or they might have bundled, unlimited PTO, which allows you to use your allotted time for whatever reason you want.
Flexible work hours
Flexible work hours mean that employees have the ability to set their schedule as long as they get their work done. With increased demands at home during the pandemic, flexible work hours are incredibly important for women employees, since in most heterosexual relationships, women still perform the majority of those tasks. Flexible schedules also actively work against micromanagement since individuals have more control over their time management and workflow. Employers, if you offer flexible work, try checking your company’s scores to see if you have good ratings for your policy.
The ability to work remotely has drastically increased over the past two years due to office closures throughout the pandemic. Many workplaces are adopting fully remote or hybrid work models, where employees are allowed to work from home a few days per week in addition to working in-person, onsite. Since 81 percent of professionals prefer remote or hybrid work, remote work should be a job benefit on every employer’s radar.
Job benefits for career support and education
Sponsorship or mentorship programs
Sponsorship or mentorship programs are official programs like women- or diversity, equity, and inclusion–focused initiatives, affiliate groups, or councils. Especially in male-dominated industries, mentorship programs are shown to have a huge impact on women’s career trajectories and are integral to helping women advance in their workplaces.
InHerSight defines learning opportunities as on- and off-site skills training, speaker series, and conferences. Many companies will pay their employees to attend professional development courses, and often new hires are required to attend new employee training. When learning opportunities are covered by employers, employees don’t have to worry about using their PTO or vacation days to attend the event.
About 83 percent of companies offer some sort of educational assistance. They either offer a set amount toward pursuing higher education or they cover a specific percentage of your tuition. And often, you might be required to stay with the company for a certain amount of time after you finish your degree. Some companies will even help with student loan payments or offer scholarships.
Job benefits for parental leave and family support
Paid parental leave
Paid parental leave covers absences for new parents. The kicker? The United States is the only developed country, and one of the only countries in the world, that has no federal law that guarantees paid parental leave to its workers. The average amount of paid maternity leave given by U.S. companies is eight weeks, and it's relatively common for companies to offer different amounts of leave to birthing and non-birthing parents. One positive example is internet company Buzzer, #1 on our Best Companies for Maternity and Adoptive Leave list, which offers 20 weeks of paid parental leave to primary caregivers, secondary caregivers, and birthing, non-birthing, adoptive, and foster parents.
To foster a family-friendly environment, some employers offer a combination of financial assistance, information and referral services, and paid or unpaid leave to aid in the adoption process. However, research shows that only 10 percent of employers offer some form of adoption assistance, so if adoption is something you know you want to pursue, you might need to negotiate this job benefit.
Fertility benefits are integral to supporting employees of all gender identities, sexual orientations, and family structures. Fertility treatments are extremely expensive (the average price of fertility treatments can range anywhere from $5,000 to 75,000), so fertility benefits like in-vitro fertilization (IVF), egg freezing, and surrogacy assistance are a great way for employers to help guide their workers through the process of starting a family.
Working parents have borne the brunt of the pandemic's impact on employees, and research shows that 73 percent of parents have considered making major changes at work, including revising their schedules, looking for a different job, or even leaving the workforce entirely. Child care subsidies are a super helpful job benefit for working parents, typically including either spending accounts or bonuses to help cover the costs of external child care and educational expenses, or onsite child care.
Job benefits for health and insurance
Unsurprisingly, job seekers view medical coverage as one of the most important factors in a job benefits package. According to data, roughly 97 percent of large companies—those with at least 50 full-time employees—offer medical insurance to their employees. It’s one of the most effective steps to reward and attract talent, while making health care more accessible and affordable.
Since many of us are hunched over our computer screens for several (okay, most) hours of the day, vision insurance is quite an appealing job benefit. Vision insurance policies typically cover or contribute some money toward routine eye exams, eyewear discounts, laser corrective surgery, and other procedures. Studies show that for every dollar a company invests in vision benefits, it receives $1.45 through lower health care costs, improved productivity, and lower turnover rates.
Dental insurance usually covers the costs of routine cleanings, checkups, fillings, root canals, crowns, and even some surgeries. Though dental insurance benefits aren’t required by law, research shows that they’re one of the most desired employee job benefits.
Disability insurance is provided in case an employee becomes disabled or too sick and can no longer work. You don’t need to exhaust all of your PTO before you file a claim, and you can file as soon as your injury or illness occurs. This kind of insurance doesn’t replace all of an employee’s income, but provides wage replacement benefits that usually cover up to 60 percent of an employee’s earnings.
Transgender-related health care
Unfortunately, gender identity non-discrimination laws and equal employment opportunity don’t extend to insurance policies. But because transgender employees may opt for medical treatments like hormone replacement therapy, surgical procedures, and mental health counseling, many companies are ensuring that their insurance plans cover these treatments and include providers that are experienced with caring for trans patients. For example, accounting company PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) offers $75,000 to help their transgender employees and employees who have transgender dependents.
To promote physical fitness and wellness, some companies grant complimentary fitness memberships or offer an onsite gym that’s free to employees. In addition to gym memberships, employers might also offer other kinds of wellness perks like standing desks, morning meditations, and office yoga.
Mental health coverage
Because two-thirds of employees have symptoms of anxiety or depression, 39 percent of employers have updated their health plans since the start of the pandemic to expand access to mental health services like telehealth counseling, in-person therapy sessions, and Headspace or Calm memberships. Obviously, there are many tangible benefits to championing and looking after employees’ mental health, and there are also benefits to employers’ bottom line due to higher employee productivity, retention, engagement, and so on.
Other job benefits
Social activities and environment
InHerSight defines social activities and environment as happy hours, game rooms, company outings, and other perks. Adobe offers a TGIF event every Friday with free food and drinks, while Patagonia offers flextime based on weather conditions—meaning employees can dip out of work early to go surfing when the waves are good or skiing when the slopes have fresh snow. These types of job benefits keep employees motivated and engaged and are an easy way to make friends at work—a huge boost to employee satisfaction.
Depending on your role and industry, your employer might offer company equipment like computers, phones, and tablets in order to effectively perform a job. Usually, when employers provide company equipment, employees only have access to it for the duration of their employment.
Stipends or allowances
Some employers offer living stipends or allowances as part of their job benefits packages. Depending on the company, some employees may receive a monthly or yearly allowance that covers expenses like moving fees, setting up a home office, utilities, rent, and anything else, really. For example, computer and network security company Palo Alto Networks gives employees an yearly allowance of $1,000 through their new FLEXBenefits program.
How to negotiate your job benefits package
When thinking about negotiating, we often focus hard on negotiating salary and neglect to negotiate job benefits. In reality, you can negotiate almost any aspect of your employment, and because your job benefits play a huge role in how you feel about your job, negotiating them should be a top priority. Plus, in the end, an outstanding benefits package can make up for an average salary offer. Need a little motivation? Roughly 80 percent of those who negotiate job benefits are successful. Keep these tips in mind and go get ‘em.
Never be afraid to ask
Once you’ve received a job offer, you have the upper hand. If you don’t ask about a specific benefit, you’ll never know, and it’s well within your right to negotiate in order for you to be fully happy with the job. Plus, if there’s little to no leeway for negotiating a higher salary, adjustments to benefits packages might be easier to achieve. A good mindset shift is to consider negotiation to be a requirement of the process, meaning your new employer expects you to negotiate in some capacity and is already prepared to have that conversation.
Consider your personal needs
Your needs and interests can look very different from the person working next to you. If you’re a fitness buff, a free gym membership might be more appealing to you than skills training, and that’s okay. If you love traveling, unlimited paid time off could be more valuable to you than a company phone, and that’s also okay. Think outside of the box and propose benefits that are uniquely beneficial to you.
Think about your ideal job title
Happy with your entire benefits package but still want something more? Try negotiating your job title. Having a more marketable, impressive or buzzword-y title can help you out down the line when you’re asking for a promotion or when it becomes time for a new job.
Save all negotiation communications
Before you reply to a job offer, make sure you’ve read (and understand) all of the terms and negotiations that you’re about to agree to. It’s imperative that you save all written communications in order to make sure that you're able to enjoy the benefits you worked so hard to negotiate and to avoid any future misunderstandings.