Negotiating Pay: Don’t Forget the Soft Benefits!

July 14, 2014

Soft BenefitsOne of the most stressful aspects of the job search is the salary negotiation. However, it is often a necessary part of the job search. Trying to come to an equitable agreement with a company is important.

On the one hand, you don’t want a company to decide you’re too expensive and decide not to hire you after all. On the other hand, you don’t want to sell yourself short and end up underpaid and unhappy at your new job. Nothing hastens burnout like feeling as though you aren’t getting paid enough.

If you want to avoid some of thorniest issues related to salary negotiation, it makes sense to remember the soft benefits when negotiating salary. Rather than looking at your salary only as the number describing your income, consider the total compensation package, and focus on soft benefits when you feel as though you are stalling during your negotiations. Considering soft benefits is an important part of your negotiations, especially if you are having a hard time agreeing on an actual salary.

What Are Soft Benefits?

Soft benefits are those benefits that aren’t readily apparent when it comes to salary. They are sometimes considered perks. Even so, they can be quite valuable and worth having. Some of the items that qualify as soft benefits include:

  • Flex time
  • Daycare for your children
  • Unpaid leave
  • Vacation days
  • Gym membership or access
  • Discounted services
  • Ability to telecommute for part of the week
  • Health benefits

For some, a good health plan is worth lower pay. Also, would you be willing to work for $5,000 less per year if you could telecommute three times a week? It would save you money on gas and clothing costs. Not only that, but you wouldn’t have the same commute, and you could spend more time at home. Other workers value a flexible schedule. If you can work your schedule so that you come in or leave a little earlier or later, depending on what you need to do that day, it might be worth it to accept a lower salary.

Rather than getting too hung up on hitting a specific number, look at the entire picture. Are there special perks for working at the company? I know a couple who works for a company that has an on-site gym and offers one free meal a day in the cafeteria (the food is good). Another friend works for a company that provides daycare. My friend can check in on his child on break, and there is no worry about what is happening during the day. These types of benefits and perks can be worth more than a little more money each year.

It’s never fun to negotiate pay, but see if you can find some common ground by negotiating soft benefits. You can enjoy life more, provide for your needs, and end up more satisfied with your job – even if it doesn’t pay what you originally thought it would.

What are some other soft benefits that would attract you to a job? Leave a comment!


Will this article help you save or earn more money? Get others like it simply by entering your email address below. Your email is used only for delivering daily money tips and you can opt out of delivery at any time. Click here to see all your free subscription options.


Miranda writes about personal finance almost every day. An experienced freelance writer, she's covered your money online and in print from every angle and is always looking for new ones.

All posts by


5 Responses to Negotiating Pay: Don’t Forget the Soft Benefits!