How do you know if you have good benefits?
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First off, let me congratulate you on your new job. Now that the weight of a job search is off your shoulders, let’s get down to business on your new benefits package. You want to know: is this benefits package any good? Are other people in comparable jobs at other companies getting better benefits than me? How do my benefits stack up?
The chart above illustrates whether 50% or more of companies of a certain size offer a particular benefit. Company size is a pretty broad category - a 10-person tech startup is probably going to offer more benefits than a 10-person dry cleaning business. However, we believe that comparing across these categories gives you an accurate first look at how your benefits compare. To find out how your package compares, find the size category that your current company fits in and go down the list.
If there’s an X next to the benefit, that means that 49% or fewer of the companies in that category offer this benefit. If your company offers this benefit, your company is above-average. If they’re not, they are comfortably in the majority.
If there’s a checkmark next to the benefit, that means that 50% or more of the companies in that category offer this benefit. If your company offers this benefit, your company is in the clear. If they don’t, you’re missing out on a benefit that most comparable companies offer.
How important are these benefits? Ultimately, it’s up to you. Both you and your insurance needs are a unique snowflake. But thanks to this data, we can make some general statements about the relative importance and rarity of different benefits.
If your new employer doesn’t offer medical insurance, for example, you’re missing out on an incredibly common benefit. Same with paid sick days, vacation days, and holidays. Compared to every other benefit, medical insurance and paid days off are standards.
Dental and vision insurance, while not uncommon, are a lot more rare than standard medical benefits. Out of the two, dental is more common, but you should count yourself very lucky if your company offers vision insurance. (If you’re looking to buy dental insurance independently of your employer, you should read our article on what to look for in a dental policy.)
Most employers will offer a defined contribution retirement plan like a 401k or IRA. More rare are defined benefit retirement plans, often referred to as pensions. Defined benefit plans are sometimes seen as the better deal because your retirement is completely paid for by the employer and cuts out the volatility of the market. However, there are drawbacks, like a lack of portability and the chance that it will be underfunded. Because defined benefit plans are much more expensive than defined contribution plans, fewer employers are offering them year over year.
How do your benefits compare to the average? Does your employer offer benefits that we didn’t mention? How important are benefits to you? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo: Rob Young
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