The process of searching for a new job is often about looking for a reasonable salary or finding a place where your particular skills and interests are a good fit. But it's also essential that you consider benefits, which vary widely from one employer to another. Benefits can have a major impact on your quality of life and how much you need to spend of your own money on things such as health insurance, life insurance and retirement savings.
Most employers reserve most or all of their benefits for full-time employees. This limits their costs by eliminating benefits for part-time workers while also encouraging loyalty in a full-time work force. Workers who receive benefits are less likely to seek work elsewhere, which reduces turnover and saves businesses the cost of recruiting and training replacements. A full-time job may require you to meet weekly or annual schedule requirements to retain your full-time status, and it may reserve certain higher levels of benefits until you've met additional service time requirements.
Executive-level jobs are among those with the best benefits at most companies. Besides standard benefits that all full-time employees receive, executives may also receive fringe benefits. These may consist of anything from a relocation allowance to facilitate a move to a new city, a company car or automobile allowance, use of an executive lounge, access to a company jet and a large severance package to provide additional financial security. While most workers will never be eligible for executive benefits, they are one way businesses compete to attract the most skilled and astute leaders.
Government jobs are a more accessible and varied option for workers seeking good benefits. They include jobs in law enforcement, clerical positions, the U.S. Postal Service, the federal and state justice systems and the military. Government jobs provide basic benefits packages with increasing benefits that grow over the course of a worker's career. Federal pension plans provide workers with security in retirement. One of the biggest advantages of federal job benefits is their guaranteed nature, with federal benefits much less likely to change or disappear than similar jobs in the private sector.
Jobs in heavily unionized sectors of the economy also offer benefits that are typically better than nonunion jobs at the same level. Examples include jobs in the education, industrial and utility fields, where workers receive standard benefits that employers are obligated to provide in union agreements. Although unions may agree to concessions such as benefits cuts during periods of economic difficulty, they also lobby to protect worker benefits, which is an advantage workers in nonunionized fields don't enjoy. Unions also remove the need for individual workers to negotiate benefits packages with employers.