Looking at the Full Package for the Salary Range Question

1978 Chrysler New Yorker

When buying a car, do you just look at the amount of the monthly payment?

In theory, you shouldn’t. You also may want to consider: the full sales price, the interest rate, the length of the loan, and the overall cost to you when that final payment is made.

Of course, your decision is also made depending on what features matter to you: a comfortable fit, good gas mileage, room for the family, a particular type of motor, adjustable seats, a certain stereo system, and so on. By looking at each of those factors, you are able to make a better informed decision about the purchase you are considering.

The same thing holds true with naming a salary range. Why would you give a set number without knowing more about the full compensation package or other factors that come under consideration?

Here’s a list of benefits that could come into play when looking at a compensation package:

  • Health insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles
  • Dental/vision insurance
  • 401K match
  • Life insurance — What amount is offered by the company? How much additional insurance are you able to purchase, and what is the premium for it? Can you purchase life insurance for your spouse and children?
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Vacation time
  • Holidays
  • Bereavement
  • Uniform
  • Specialty equipment (safety boots, safety glasses, etc.)
  • Annual bonus

Another thing to think about is location. Cost of living differentials make a big difference. For example, the salary you are making in your position in Wisconsin won’t go near as far if you are looking at a job that would necessitate relocating to New York.

That doesn’t mean that you just take your salary and adjust it for a different area’s cost of living. You also need to look at the salary that the market is willing to pay. I remember during my nonprofit career, I applied for a position in Massachusetts and was contacted for an interview. The salary sounded fine until I got a look at the cost of renting an apartment. My husband and I nearly choked when we saw that. We realized there was no way we could make it happen because, while there was a big cost of living differential, salaries for our fields did not go up by the same rate.

And then there’s the corporate culture and the fit with the company. Depending on your personal take, some folks are OK with working in a position that pays well but has a less-than-ideal culture. For others, you couldn’t pay them enough to work in an environment that is not a good fit.

Based on all of that, your desired compensation can fluctuate. Only you know what the final answer will be.

What else do you take into consideration when thinking about salary range?

Image courtesy of Greg Gjerdingen

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