Negotiating opens doors to better salaries, and helps many candidates start their job on the right foot. That said, young professionals sometimes miss out on a chance to negotiate benefits. Benefits and perks vary from one organization to the next; most companies offer things like health and life insurance (different from your individual whole life insurance policy), and may also offer things like flexible hours or catered meals. Here are a few things that candidates can negotiate when considering a job offer.

Flexible working

“Especially since the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies have offered more flexible work environments with fully remote or hybrid settings,” says Omaha-based Wealth Management Advisor Thomas Beebe. “This type of situation allows for more work-life balance, and could even help you to save time and money in your day-to-day life because you aren’t having to commute five days a week.” The option of flexible work can be especially valuable if you have young children or other responsibilities outside of work that can benefit from this level of flexibility. If these are options you’d be interested in, be sure to ask about them when negotiating an offer.

Personal Services

Sometimes companies offer discounts on personal services, such as cleaners or lawn mowing services, as a benefit to its employees. “These different services are valuable to individuals because after being at work all day, the last thing someone wants to do is worry about the chores around their house,” says Beebe. “With these offerings, employers are allowing employees more work-life-balance and giving them time to do what they love– from taking up a new hobby to spending time with family.”

Signing bonus

A signing bonus is a lump sum that the company gives an employee when they first join the organization. This is typically given to people who are in high-demand positions or who have special skills or experience. Signing bonuses may come with conditions—for example, you may be asked to return the bonus if you resign within a year. But when negotiating salary is not an option, a signing bonus can be a great way to get a little extra value.

Professional development opportunities

Professional development opportunities can accelerate your career growth. When negotiating, ask potential employers if they cover the cost of certifications, training, or other skill-building courses.

“Professional development opportunities may be part of the employment package, but you may also be able to negotiate some additional learning opportunities,” Beebe says. “Is there a conference you want to attend? Or a course you want to take in the first six months? If that’s something you’re interested in pursuing, ask about those opportunities when going through the hiring process.”

Vacation time

Even if a company can’t provide a higher salary, they may be able to offer more vacation time. Some companies may have a set number of vacation days based on your years of service, but they may be willing to negotiate or move you up to a different tier – especially if you’re not an entry-level employee. You may also be able to reference other offers or a previous job. It’s common for candidates to leverage other job offers to get a higher salary, but this approach can work for PTO, too. A potential employer is more likely consider your request if they know you would have more vacation days elsewhere.

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance
Company (NM) and its subsidiaries in Milwaukee, WI.

Source: Northwestern Mutual