How to Evaluate a Job Offer and Determine if Salary and Benefits Are Competitive
I was recently laid off and have been looking for a new legal job. I have had several interviews for a position that seems promising. If I receive a job offer, how should I evaluate the components of the compensation package to decide if the salary and benefits I’m being offered are competitive and will meet my long-term needs?
Before evaluating a job offer, you need to know what firms in your area are paying for the same or similar role. You can research average starting salaries for professionals with your experience and qualifications in the legal section of the 2022 Salary Guide From Robert Half. You can also select the city nearest to you to view salaries adjusted for regional cost of living, talent availability and other factors. Is the starting salary you’re being offered significantly above or below the market average?
Besides salary, you’ll also want to weigh the value of the perks, benefits and incentives that come with it before deciding. It’s a more subjective process, so here are a few tips to help you make the right call.
Assess opportunities for career progression — Don’t discount a below-average offer if it’s tied to a thoughtful and wide-ranging employee development program. Is the potential employer offering continued learning beyond what is needed for this particular role? Will they train you in sought-after legal skills like litigation software, online document management and e-filing? These are powerful incentives if you want to future-proof your career and boost your earnings potential.
Know your must-haves — Before you begin negotiating, you need to decide what you can’t live without. When Robert Half surveyed executives and senior managers in the United States for the 2022 Salary Guide, we found that the most popular perks and benefits are the following, with the percentage of employers who offer them in parentheses:
- Health insurance (64%)
- Flexible work schedules (47%)
- Paid time off (47%)
- Retirement savings plan (46%)
- Remote work options (37%)
- Paid parental leave (37%)
- Employee discounts (32%)
Re-evaluate your priorities before making a decision on an offer. For example, the ability to work from home may have become more important to you since the onset of the pandemic.
Consider work-life balance — Many legal professionals found themselves prioritizing wellness and work-life balance during the pandemic. Employers have taken note: More than 4 in 10 law firms and legal departments have added wellness programs, mental health resources or work-at-home office reimbursements because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Offering these perks signals a healthy organizational culture — a critical factor when weighing up a job offer.
Finally, don’t be afraid to negotiate. It’s a tight labor market right now, and employers will go the extra mile to land talented candidates.