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Evaluating a job offer - Salaries and benefits

Salaries and benefits

When an employer makes a job offer, information about earnings and benefits are usually included. You will want to research to determine if the offer is fair. If you choose to negotiate for higher pay and better benefits, objective research will help you strengthen your case. You may have to go to several sources for information.

You should also look for additional information, specifically tailored to your job offer and circumstances. Try to find fam­ily, friends, or acquaintances that recently were hired in simi­lar jobs. Ask your teachers and the staff in placement offices about starting pay for graduates with your qualifications. Help-wanted ads in newspapers sometimes give salary ranges for similar positions. Check the library or your school’s career centre for salary surveys such as those conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers or various professional associations.

If you are considering the salary and benefits for a job in an­other geographic area, make allowances for differences in the cost of living, which may be significantly higher in a large met­ropolitan area than in a smaller city, town, or rural area. You also should learn the organisation’s policy regarding overtime. Depending on the job, you may or may not be exempt from laws requiring the employer to compensate you for over­time. Find out how many hours you will be expected to work each week and whether you receive overtime pay or compensa­tory time off for working more than the specified number of hours in a week.

Also take into account that the starting salary is just that—the start. Your salary should be reviewed on a regular basis; many organizations do it every year. How much can you expect to earn after 1, 2, or 3 or more years? An employer may be unable to be specific about the amount of pay if it includes commis­sions and bonuses. Benefits also can add a lot to your base pay, but they vary widely. Find out exactly what the benefit package includes and how much of the cost you must bear.

Employment Decisions