Negotiating is part of the process of finding your perfect job. Many people simply accept the first job offer a company makes, without even considering a counter offer. Sometimes candidates don’t realize there’s room to negotiate. Trust us, there almost always is, especially if you want to negotiate non-salary perks! Other times the decision not to negotiate is based on fear. Candidates worry the job offer might disappear if they appear too pushy. The truth is once you receive an offer, you're in a position with a lot of power! The company extended an offer to you because they want to hire you. It’s a lot of work for a recruiter to find a qualified, hire-worthy candidate, so employers are incentivized to work with you to get you to sign on the dotted line. So take the opportunity to negotiate your terms and decide what perks really matter to you.
It’s important to consider the entire compensation package when negotiating a job offer. Often, job seekers focus on salary. But there's so much more you can negotiate. Even if an employer isn’t willing to budge on your annual salary, you can negotiate other terms of your employment. Here are 12 other things to consider negotiating in a job offer that aren’t your base salary:
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1. vacation days
We could all use some extra vacation days, right? So, ask for them when negotiating your employment terms. In Canada, workers are entitled to 2 weeks of vacation by default. Some companies offer more to entice workers. 3 or 4 weeks isn’t uncommon in many industries. Some even have ‘unlimited’ vacation – though this is tougher to ask for. Make sure your request is reasonable and in alignment with someone with your experience and seniority.
2. flexible hours
Companies are more willing than ever to provide employees with flexible work hours. If you have family commitments or strongly value a good work-life balance, ask your employer to provide you with greater hourly flexibility in your job offer. The ability to set your own schedule, while maintaining certain number of work hours is a common option. Maybe you want to be able to leave earlier some days to pick up your kids or attend a fitness class. Or maybe you like sleeping in and would rather start later and stay at work a bit later as well. Flexible work can take many forms.
3. signing bonus
Talent is in high demand. In Canada, we’re in a period of sustained low unemployment. That means the competition to score great talent is high. It’s common in some industries, and for in-demand roles, for hiring companies to offer a signing bonus. Check to see if this is common in your industry. If so, request one in lieu of a higher salary if the hiring company is not willing to increase your annual salary.
4. a higher commission rate
Do you work in sales or a performance-based industry? Consider asking for a higher commission percentage. This allows you to profit off of your skills, and is attractive to employers because you only get paid if you’re successful. If you’re confident in your sales ability and don’t mind that your salary may fluctuate month to month, negotiating higher commission can increase your salary long-term and offset a lower than desired base salary. The better you perform, the more money you can make in the role.
5. retirement savings matching
A job offer can benefit you now and in the future. It’s important to think about your future and how you can build long-term security for yourself. Ask about pensions and retirement savings matching programs. Though pensions are somewhat uncommon these days, many companies offer matching for RRSPs based on your contributions (between 50% and 100% match are common).
6. working from home
Hate commuting? Think you can get more accomplished in the quiet, peacefulness of your home? Request to have the flexibility to work from home. Depending on your role, it could be full time, part time, or occasionally, depending on your needs. If you’re new to working from home, consider asking for one day to work from home per week, and go from there. If it’s successful, you may be able to make a case for even more work-from-home days going forward.
7. stock options
Another way to get financially compensated for your work is through stock options. If your employer is a publicly traded company, they may offer you company stocks or a stock matching plan (giving you bonus stocks based on how much you invest into company stocks) as part of your compensation.
8. relocation expenses
Are you moving to take a new job in a different city? Ask about relocation expenses when negotiating your job offer. Many companies will offer one-time moving expenses to help you find a new home and transfer all your belongings to a new location.
9. ongoing professional development
Continuing your professional development and constantly updating your skills is key to progressing in your career. Inquire about professional development allowances and programs when you get your job offer. Ask about a budget for furthering your education, as well as internal training & development opportunities. If you’re a new grad, tuition reimbursement may also be worth asking for depending on the industry you’re working in.
10. a better job title
If you’ve been offered a job but don’t feel as though the title reflects your level of experience or responsibilities, ask about getting it changed to a better title. Job titles are somewhat subjective and open to interpretation, so it never hurts to ask your employer for a more senior or other preferred title if you feel strongly about it. This tends to be something employers are open to negotiate on as it costs them absolutely nothing.
11. childcare expenses
Some companies may be willing to pay a portion or all of your childcare and daycare expenses. Some companies also have onsite childcare facilities which you can access for free or at a highly subsidized rate. If you have young children, ask about if the company offers these types of programs as part of your compensation package.
12. expense reimbursements
There are many roles that require employees to pay for some expenses out of pocket or use personal devices. You can often negotiate reimbursements for daily transportation, travel to other cities, mobile phones, laptops, meals, client entertainment, and many other expenses required for you to do your job. Some companies may also provide company resources (such as a car or phone) for you to use for free as long as you’re with the company.
Job offers are negotiable. Be ready and willing to negotiate the terms of your job offer or you could be missing out on additional financial compensation, perks, flexibility, and more.