Comparing job offers – salary vs. the total package

  18th July 2018      
 Accounting & Finance, Employment, Human Resources, IT & Software Solutions, Job Seeking Resources, Office & Commercial, Recruitment

Job hunting can often be like waiting for a bus. When it feels as though your ideal role will never come along, two (or more) appear at once and then you’re faced with a difficult choice – which one is right for you?

On the face of it, the role with the higher salary can seem more appealing, but when you consider the whole package, you may be surprised to find that the lesser-paying job offers you more value.

Return on your time

Earlier this year, research from TotallyMoney revealed that British employees work an average of 469 unpaid hours each year. Add to this the time and cost of commuting, which is at least one hour per day for half of UK workers, and your salary could quickly be eaten up.

If you have two very similar job offers on the table in terms of role and job satisfaction, then it sometimes makes sense to crunch the numbers. Are you contracted to work 35 or 37.5 hours per week and do you get 20 or 25 days’ annual holiday entitlement, for example? What sense did you get from the interview of overtime – is it ‘expected’ or do they appear conscious of not overworking their employees? How long will it take to get to your main place of work and will you have to pay a premium for travel or parking?

Work out your hourly rate for the time actually spent at work and add on travel time and cost to get a true calculation for the return on your time.

Work life balance

For some time, flexible working has been found to be a clear motivator for staff, but it’s not just flexi-hours or remote working opportunities that you need to think about.

When we spend more than half our waking hours at work, it appeals to some people to be able to get some of their life admin done during lunch breaks or immediately after they finish. This means that being in a town centre location can be more beneficial. If your office is located on an industrial estate, for instance, you will find yourself having to do your tedious personal tasks, like food shopping and visiting the bank, during the weekends.

As a result, where you work could have multiple advantages that essentially gives you more free time to relax and do the things you enjoy.


According to MetLife’s 2017 UK Employee Benefit Trends Study, 73% of employers are using benefits to attract new talent; a 12% increase from the previous study in 2015.

Common work-related benefits include flexible working, free meals and refreshments, ongoing training, sick pay, childcare vouchers, company cars, free parking and cycle to work schemes. In addition, many employers provide other social perks that save staff money and/or improve their fitness and wellbeing. Private medical insurance, gym memberships, retail discounts and free holidays are just a few of the benefits on offer.

Having private medical care alone could save you thousands of pounds each year on dentist visits, eye tests and other treatments such as physiotherapy.

Progression opportunity

It’s very important to understand whether there is an opportunity to grow and be promoted in a business. One job could be more senior, but with very little chance of progression in the short-term. In comparison, you may be offered the opportunity to be part of a rapidly growing business where you can have a direct impact on its success and end up hiring beneath you.

Gut feeling

Essentially, there will always be risks to taking one job over another, but if all else fails, go with your gut.

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