Salary Competes with Perks
By Margaret Hansen, JobsInDE.com
Thinking about your earnings lately? How about controlling your own schedule? Given the current state of the economy, a surprising majority are more concerned with the latter.
In a recent JobsInTheUS.com poll, we asked which was most important:
- A flexible schedule
- The ability to telecommute
Nearly half of the group chose Salary (47%) as #1. A not-so-surprising answer, but with the economy grinding to a halt lately, it seems to be packed with a little more emotion.
"Salary is just as important to me as is having work in which I can add value and fully use my skills and experience," said Suanne Williams Lindgren a professional HR consultant from Freeport, Maine. "I frequently meet intelligent, skilled people who are underpaid, underemployed, and working 2-3 jobs to make ends meet. I think this is a terrible waste of human energy that we can ill afford at a time when there is such tremendous need in our world."
Coming in at #2: a flexible schedule with a whopping 42% of the group choosing this answer.
The U.S. Department of Labor defines a flexible schedule as an alternative to the traditional 9 to 5, 40-hour work week.
Some situations allow flexibility with arrival/departure times with a prescribed number of hours, including daily presence during a "core time." Others may offer a compressed work week with longer days but more time off. Still others allow the flexibility to attend family events, meetings and other commitments during the work day as needed.
Life is unpredictable. Parenting, family issues, dealing with illness and maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle are just a few of the things that are competing with work. Increasingly, people need - and are demanding - a more flexible work schedule.
Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" lists Telecommuting as one of its top six best benefits - and 84 of its 100 winning companies in 2008 offer it.
"It's true that financial concerns are leading people to consider compensation more heavily than, say, two years ago," Jason Blais, Field Operations Manager for JobsInTheUS.com, said. Blais meets with both job seekers and employers at career events across New England. He sees a new trend with uncommon work arrangements.
Blais points out that a more interesting trend is that the majority of poll takers chose perks over salary.
"53% of our poll respondents would prefer accommodations to fit their lifestyles (flexible schedule, ability to telecommute), compared to 47% who feel that salary is more important," Blais said. "I think employers need to take heed of this reality."
Some common telecommuting jobs include: medical transcription, IT-related work, sales, customer service and any job that relies on the Internet.
Margaret Hansen has been writing professionally since receiving a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Maine. She has worked for multiple organizations as a weekly newspaper reporter, a weekly newspaper editor, and in a variety of internal/external marketing communications roles. Her freelance career has focused on writing and editing for print, email and web publications in the employment industry, as well as manuscript editing and resume writing. Margaret has been affiliated with JobsInDE.com since 2003, most recently as the content manager/writer/editor for the company's award-winning employment-related newsletters. To suggest articles, or if you are interested in writing for JobsInDE.com, please email her at mhansen (at) JobsInDE.com.