Benefits Vs Salary: How Does it Stack Up?

by | 14 Aug 2023

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As a manager, team Leader or HR professional, attracting top talent is essential for the growth and success of your company. You’ve no doubt by now figured out that to compete in today’s competitive job market, you need to offer more than just a competitive salary.

Employee benefits have become a critical component of the overall compensation package, but we are often faced with the question of what that looks like, just how much benefits and salary contribute to attracting talent.

The Power of Salary

Offering a salary that matches or exceeds industry standards shows that you appreciate your employees’ expertise and hard work. It also ensures that your company is taken seriously by job seekers while enhancing your company’s reputation in the job market, making it a desirable destination for job seekers.

Suitable compensation also motivates employees to perform at their best and fosters a sense of loyalty to the company. Employees who feel fairly compensated are less likely to seek better-paying opportunities elsewhere.

But, as always, money isn’t everything. In fact, a 2022 SEEK survey revealed that job security and work-life balance are now high on the priority list for job seekers and equally influence their decision in accepting a role as salary.

So, what kind of benefits can you incorporate into your compensation packages?

Work-Life Balance: Employee benefits that promote work-life balance, such as flexible working hours, remote/hybrid working models and more paid time off than the National Employment Standards minimum, appeal to candidates seeking harmony between their personal and professional lives.

Health and Wellness: Providing comprehensive health insurance and wellness programs such as gym memberships, free counselling sessions, etc., demonstrates your commitment to the well-being of your employees. This can lead to higher job satisfaction and productivity.

Family Support & Childcare: Providing support for families such as additional or extended paid parental, annual and sick leave, flexible working hours to accommodate parents needing to pick up or drop off kids to school, or even financial support toward childcare, can be an attractive benefit for candidates with children or those looking to re-enter the workforce after being a stay-at-home parent.

Education & Study Support: Ongoing training, education and study are critical to keeping your employees up-to-date. Providing study leave, contributing toward study expenses related to their job or supporting employees to undergo further education and training is a big plus for those looking to continue their career growth and progression.

Employee Engagement and Loyalty: Offering benefits that support employees’ personal and professional growth can boost engagement and foster long-term loyalty to your company. Meeting KPIs, onboarding new clients or completing a course could be met with incentives such as a quarterly bonus, gift vouchers, holidays or additional leave.

The Balancing Act: Striking the Right Mix

Throwing a big paycheck at employees but failing to care for their mental and physical well-being and work-life balance often sets you up for a short-lived hire or a burnt-out employee, neither of which your business wants. At the same time, including a gym membership while paying award rates isn’t going to entice anyone.

Be realistic about what your business can offer while being mindful that the best employees are worth investing in. Be open-minded in negotiations and willing to alter your expectations to find the perfect fit.

So how do you find what benefits and salaries are attractive to the candidates you’re seeking?

1. Know Your Market
Research industry salary standards and benefits offerings to understand what your competitors are providing. This knowledge will help you tailor your package to attract the right talent. Gathering feedback from current employees is also incredibly valuable in establishing what benefits financial services professionals are seeking.

2. Tailor to Employee Needs
Different employees may have diverse needs. Offer a flexible benefits package that accommodates individual preferences, such as health coverage for families, professional development opportunities and study leave, or wellness programs.

3. Communicate Total Compensation
Clearly communicate the total value of your compensation package in the recruitment process, making it clear if superannuation is also rolled into the package. Highlight the perks that set your company apart that go beyond monetary value.

4. Emphasise Company Culture
Showcase your company’s culture and work environment. Some candidates may prioritise a positive and flexible work culture over higher salaries, making it a crucial selling point.

In the ongoing battle of benefits vs. salary, the winning strategy for attracting new talent lies in striking a balance between the two. While a competitive salary is the foundation, comprehensive employee benefits provide the added allure that can attract top-notch candidates to your business and be the cherry on top of the cake.

Remember, a well-crafted compensation package demonstrates your commitment to employee well-being and fosters loyalty, ultimately contributing to the long-term success of your company.

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