Understanding what potential employees desire in their benefits package is crucial when recruiting top candidates for any position. It is a complex business that requires a comprehensive look at what competitors are offering, but perhaps more importantly, what applicants really want. Benefits often get shorter shrift than salary considerations, but in the modern marketplace they really should not.
A recent study by LendingTree delved deeply into this topic, interviewing more than 1500 people on their ideal benefits. The results are striking especially as they become broken down by gender and age. If it is feasible to extrapolate these statistics, it is possible to see that a large segment of the population prefers to have a better life balance even if it means making a little less in the way of salary. This means that a hiring manager can leverage a benefits offer with a reduced salary, however it is also important to recognize that your applicant may consider another position (even one with a lower salary) if an alternative job puts together a more enticing set of benefits.
When negotiating a package, the study urges to keep in mind gender and age range with the understanding that these demographics matter significantly when trying to discover places of compromise and where it makes sense to apply pressure or make concessions. Some of this may have a connection to simple psychology, but it is necessary to take this into account when making the right offer to the right person.
This reinforces the idea that one ignores trends in competitive benefits at his or her peril. A full third of applicants can recall a time that a job was turned down based entirely on a lack of an agreeable benefits package.
Health Insurance and 401(k) matching are the most important elements of a benefits negotiation by a good margin. Consider these elements as the main places to find wiggle room if your goal is to impact the acceptance of an elite applicant.
Something to keep in mind when approaching applicants of different genders is that, in general, women prefer better health care coverage, while men are geared toward their 401(k).
Of applicants looking specifically for improved health coverage, it appears that people at the age of having young families or those closest to retirement prize better insurance the most.
Around 36% of those polled would give up a portion of their salary for a 2% increase in 401(k) matching. Flexibility in this area then will allow a company to take advantage of the benefits of investment over immediate salary payouts.
Paid Time Off is another variable where a little flexibility can open up negotiations on salary. However, it is important to understand which age groups are most likely to respond to this.
Of other benefits, the most desirable is flexible scheduling. More modern offices are finding that it is attractive to offer hours that are less constrained.
Again, it is important to look at the age of an applicant. Older demographics swing much more toward this flexibility, while younger people might be more enticed by something like a free gym membership or lunch.
It is the measure of your applicant that allows you to form the most enticing benefits package. Keep in mind their demographic and what they really want in order to get the best talent at a comfortable salary.
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About the author
Sarah Archer is a Content Marketing Specialist based in San Diego. With a background in public relations and passion for SEO, she specializes in developing and promoting content that drives growth for her clients.