After analyzing 120 years of research and synthesizing 92 quantitative studies, Harvard Business Review has revealed that “the association between job satisfaction and salary is very weak.” More than a high salary, we want satisfying work. After all, work gives purpose. Being happy at work is really a matter of being happy with life. And even with those that are happy at their current job, a recent study from Fidelity Investments shows that 49 percent, nearly half, of millennial professionals are actively looking or open to a new opportunity.
When comparing a new job offer with an existing position, it is easy to simply compare salary. While salary is still an important consideration; it is not the most important. What are the other non-financial factors to consider before accepting a job?
1) Job Benefits
Before accepting a job, consider the benefits: medical, dental, vision, an employee stock purchase program and/or 401(k) match, etc. How much value do these carry for you? Will you use them? This job offer evaluator tool from Fidelity can help you make the decision as you compare the numbers.
For evaluating benefits, it’s important to think ahead. For instance, medical costs may not be expensive for you right now, but what about in the years ahead? Perhaps you’re paying back student loans now so the 401(k) is not your foremost thought. Consider how enticing a 401(k) match may be in the future. Consider the difference in benefits between the two jobs.
2) Company Culture
Company culture is another important consideration. Ask yourself, “Would I really like it here?” What are the people like as individuals? What are they like as a team? Will they help foster your growth? Or is the culture conceited? People enjoy working with others they enjoy. Just as in college, working with friends makes all the difference.
3) Work Environment
Consider the environment as well. Is the building a pleasant place to be? Would you have good hardware and software? How are the break rooms? How is the parking? If you have allergies or are otherwise sensitive, how is the air quality in the building? These aspects seem relatively small when interviewing. But they are things you’ll need to deal with on a day-to-day basis. It’s best to work in a pleasant environment. If the job is good but the environment is lacking, ask about telecommuting options now or in the future.
4) Future Career Moves
What about your career trajectory? You likely will not be satisfied staying in the same position for decades. So what will the future look like? Does this organization have a clear path for you to follow? It’s often helpful to ask what people who once held this job are currently doing. If you do not get a satisfactory answer, it’s okay to ask an interviewer about attrition rate. It’s not a good sign if past hires don’t last long. Additionally, if you choose a company that has a poor reputation or a reputation for poor hiring practices, you could get typecast negatively and regret it once it’s time to move on.
5) Level of Interest
When examining job specifics, how much do you actually enjoy the work? It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the ancillary considerations, we often forget to think about whether or not the work is exciting! Will you enjoy spending 40+ hours per week doing the work that is involved? If the potential employer hasn’t explained the job in enough detail, ask more questions. You may even inquire if it’s appropriate to shadow a current employee for a day. If you are not able to shadow, be sure to ask about the workload and shared responsibilities. The employer will then have the opportunity to tell you with honesty how many work hours are expected of employees. The same study from Fidelity shows that 58 percent of millennials say quality of work life is more important than financial benefits.
6) Time Spent Commuting
It’s also important to consider the new commute. Are you ready to commit to that each day? According to AAA, the average cost to drive is 60.8 cents per mile. Commuting can be expensive and stressful.
To cut back on the commute, consider living closer to work. How much will your cost of living decrease or increase as a result? Consider housing, utilities, property taxes, schools, nearby stores, etc.
7) Retirement Plan Options
If this isn’t your first job, remember your retirement plan from your past employer. What should you do with it? You have many options. You can cash out, though it’s rarely a wise idea. You’ll miss out on future tax savings and you’ll get hit with fees for cashing out. You can also leave the funds where they are in many cases. A third option is to roll the money over into the new retirement plan or roll it into your personal IRA.
As you can see, there’s more to choosing a job than simply the salary. Apply the above considerations to see if a new job is right for you. And may your new position bring you money, benefits, friendship and satisfaction.
If you do decide to take on the position, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Often, the first offer is a starting point and it is expected that you will at least counter with a higher number or better benefits. How do you know what to counter? Consider the factors above and use the job offer evaluator tool to get your suggested salary.
Need more guidance? Check out this post from Fidelity as you evaluate a job offer.
This post is sponsored by Fidelity Investments®. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Fidelity does not adopt, endorse or sponsor any other content on this website, including links to other third-party websites and is not responsible for any views expressed outside of this sponsored post.