Working Wildcat: Certain perks worth more than salary

Ariel Hernandez

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Ariel Hernandez

For many graduates, the end of school means the end of minimum wage jobs, buck night specials, taco trucks and off-brand toilet paper.

A job with higher pay will hopefully be in your future, but it shouldn’t be the only consideration in your search. Keep in mind that a company that pays the most doesn’t necessarily offer the best package.

Consider these three things in addition to salary before accepting a job offer:

Career path

It’s hard not to get caught up in a shiny new salary, but it’s important to look beyond the initial offer. Dig a little deeper and ask some questions. How hard is it to move up in the company? How long does it normally take to get a promotion?

These are important questions. The company may pay you $5,000-$10,000 more initially, but those competitors you turned down may have a better career path in the long run. Find out how much upward mobility a company offers, because a stale career path means fewer opportunities for pay increases.

Training programs

U.S. employers spent more than $70 billion on corporate training in 2013, according to Forbes. Why does this matter? A company being willing to spend money on training is often a good indicator that they want to retain their employees. Employers sometimes spend a lot of money getting you trained, because they want you to stick around. Would you rather work for a company that values you as an employee and hopes to keep you in its corporate family, or a company that views you as disposable?

Check out the perks

Private businesses in the U.S. are not required to offer employees vacation or paid holidays. The average American worker at a private company receives six paid holidays and 10 vacation days a year, according to CBS News. After years of summer vacations and winter and spring breaks, the loss of freedom may be a bit of a reality shock. Ask what the company policy is on vacation, holidays and sick leave. You might not stay with that employer until you die, but you should know if you’re chained to five days off a year for the next five years.

It’s definitely important to make sure you can keep your electricity on and fridge filled with groceries, but don’t let salary be the sole factor if it doesn’t have to be. Ask yourself, if a company is paying significantly more than the rest of the competitors, is it because it’s a better company, or because a high salary is the only way that company can get someone to work for them?

Ariel Hernandez can be reached at [email protected] or @Aj7uriel on Twitter.

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