If you've done any job searching in the last two decades, you've seen employers who offer benefits that go beyond just paying you for the work you're doing. Such benefits might include stock options, paid vacation time, health insurance and employer contributions to retirement savings. So, employers who offer more benefits are always a better deal, right?
Not always. You have to look at the bottom line.
Though benefits were originally a way to convince existing employees to stick around for a while, today's employers primarily offer benefits to make a new job look more attractive. One of the reasons for this shift is to make up for offering lower salaries. Benefits like health insurance can be expensive for employers, though, which means the employer could cut back or eliminate certain benefits to further trim costs. [source: Salisbury]
When you're comparing two job offers side-by-side, the only way to accurately compare compensation is to factor in the value you'll get from each the benefits offered. This is easy for things like insurance, which have clear costs associated with them. For example, if the employer provides health coverage which would otherwise cost you about $300 per month, or $3,600 per year, you can add that number to your salary to get a more accurate picture of your compensation. Some benefits go beyond a monetary value, though. If you're a parent, for instance, you might appreciate flexible work hours that give you more time to spend with your kids.