When you hear earnings, do you automatically think of salary? Most people equate earnings with salary when assessing what they currently make or evaluating a potential job offer. Your compensation package is, however, a combination of your salary and much more. Here are some of the components to take into consideration.
1. Salary. What is your current base salary? Are you paid for overtime? When is your next raise due and what % can you expect?
2. Bonus. Do you have a bonus plan in place? Is it based on company performance or individual performance, or both? Are discretionary bonuses handed out? What did you earn last year in terms of bonuses?
3. Paid Time Off (PTO). Add up your vacation time, sick time, holidays and personal days to caluculate your total time off.
4. Benefits. Medical, Dental, Vision, Life are typical benefits offered by many companies. These plans can be very costly to companies and individuals. Depending on how comprensive the coverage is and your contribution, the value of these plans can play a major factor.
5. 401K and Profit Sharing Plans. Having a company invest in your future by way of profit sharing and/or contribution to a 401K plan is a bonus to be recognized.
6. Educational Reimbursement. Contributions towards education can have a direct impact on your wallet if you are planning to continue with your advanced degrees. A company that supports ongoing training and certifications is also making a major investment to their employees.
7. Stock Options/Stock Purchase Plans. While huge stock option grants are less prevalent today than a decade ago, stock purchase plans still play a part of total compensation.
8. Flexible Spending Accounts. Any Pre-Tax offering that helps you to lower your taxible income, earns you money.
9. Transportation Reimbursement. Van Pools, Milage Reimbursement, Train or Toll Road Passes, etc. all add up to more money in your pocket.
10. Special Benefits: Gym Memberships, Discounted Equipment or Buying Power, Park Memberships, company sponsored trips, subsidized lunches, free food and drinks at work and any other non-required perks have value.
For most people, the job itself--the challenge, the opportunity to learn and grow, the technology and company--is what drives the decision to either stay with a firm, or choose to consider options elsewhere. Once those criteria have been established, the attention turns to compensation factors. We hope this information helps you to look at the whole picture.