Congratulations, all of you entering (or re-entering) the workforce! You are now about to embark on the exciting—and often laborious—journey of finding a new career. Whether you’re enlisting the help of a staffing agency like Leddy Group or going on the hunt alone, be prepared—eventually, your hard work will pay off and you’ll be offered a job (or maybe even two or three)! As you’re going through the process, though, you might encounter a time when you’re offered a salary lower than you expected. If that happens, should you just disregard the offer and move on to another? Although money is nice, salary isn’t everything. Below, we give you a list of factors just as important that you should consider during your decision-making process.

  • Hours. If you’re offered a straight salary, you might think that you can just take that figure and calculate your hourly rate based on an 8-hour workday. However, you may be expected to work until your project is finished, and that may take a 60-hour week. You may also be expected to respond to emails whenever they come in, requiring you to be “on” at all hours.
  • You’ve seen what people are being paid to work in the “big city” an hour away, and you might think, “Wow! That’s worth the two-hour commute!” But, wait. What if there’s an accident and two hours turns into three? What about the increase in costs to get more frequent oil changes, fill up your gas tank, or park?
  • Culture. You can get paid all the money in the world, but if the culture isn’t a good fit, you will likely find yourself miserable in no time. What if you’re an introvert and your new company believes in one giant shared workspace? What if you believe in sustainability and your potential employer wastes paper by the truckload?
  • Benefits. Here’s something you didn’t have to think much about in college. What are the health plans being offered, and more importantly, what is the deductible and co-pay? Does the company offer 401k plans and a match? How about dental insurance? All these benefits tie into your overall compensation package and are important details to know in making your decision.
  • Bonuses. Some companies offer a lower salary yet offer frequent and/or generous bonuses. Inquire into the bonus structure and figure that into the salary equation.
  • Regional pay differences. Maybe you did your research and found that the average starting salary was higher than you were offered. Did you take into consideration that the region you’re in may have a lower cost of living, and therefore, lower salaries?
  • The company’s future. Do some serious digging into a company before you commit to a position, because the company offering you the higher pay may not be around long enough for you get that bonus you were promised; then again, the company offering you a lower wage may be in the midst of an expansion and more opportunities for you may lie ahead.
  • The current economy. The economy can play a big role in the decision-making process. How is the economy doing overall? Is unemployment high or low? Should you be lucky to even have an offer on the table or is the economy in an upswing and growth is opening up many opportunities?
  • Other perks. While some companies just offer the basic benefits as required by law (Family Medical Leave, minimum wage, unemployment benefits, etc.), others have realized that perks go a long way in employee satisfaction. From on-site healthcare to unlimited vacation time, employers are continually upping their game to make the workplace more inviting.
  • Opportunities for advancement. Imagine being hired into an entry-level position where there’s absolutely no room for growth. Sure, you can use the position as a stepping stone into a better position at another company, but wouldn’t it be nice to start out in a company where you can continue to grow within?

After reading this, we hope you understand why you should always take the time to weigh your options before accepting a position, rather than basing it on salary alone. You never know—you might end up ruling out your dream job based on a measly $500 a year difference in pay! Discuss your goals and options with us at Leddy Group. Your success is our success.