I Want This Job But The Salary Is Too Low! How to Improve a Job Offer With Non-Monetary Benefits

Negotiate a better job offer with non-monetary benefits

What do you do when you’ve been offered a job, but the salary is capped and the employer has indicated there’s no room to move? In this Pivot HR911 post, we explore how non-monetary benefits can improve a job offer for both candidates and the employer.


Pivot HR911: I Want This Job But The Salary Is Too Low!


We recently received a query from a candidate who was offered their dream job for an organization where they’ve always wanted to work for. The problem was the salary. As a non-profit charity, the organization doesn’t have the budget capacity to offer the candidate much more than a living wage. Our candidate really wants the opportunity to gain experience working for this organization, but the wage is considerably less than they desire. Is there anything that the NPO can offer that will sweeten the deal for the candidate that won’t cost them financially?


Our answer: Yes! Think creatively and improve the job offer with non-monetary benefits


This situation is becoming more of a common tale, particularly here in the Lower Mainland, where the cost of living is rising fast and small to mid-size companies are not able to match candidates’ increasing salary expectations.

As not all employers have the ability to adjust their pay strategies, prospective candidates should carefully consider other non-monetary items they value. Employers may be more willing to negotiate for these items that don’t hit their bottom line.

We recommend these four non-monetary benefits as a starting point:  

  1. Flexible hours
  2. Remote-work capability
  3. Professional development and learning opportunities
  4. Social engagement


Four Non-Monetary Benefits That Add Value to Employees and Employers


1.Flexible hours: When employees are balancing family demands or academic studies, a flexible schedule can be worth just as much as a top-tier salary. In fact, having an employer that will accommodate their needs may be more important than any other factor when job seeking. Additionally, a fluid set up may better suit employees who work effectively with less rigid scheduling.

There are many advantages (and a few disadvantages) to flexible scheduling for both employees and employers; however,  the net result will be employees who are engaged when they’re at work, and not worrying about when they’ll tackle their other priorities.

Whether employers offer a flex day every ten days or set core hours for employees to build their schedules around, a flexible schedule can give the freedom and versatility that many job seekers desire.


2.Work Remotely: Telecommuting is becoming increasingly favoured by employers for raising productivity, reducing costs, and lowering turnover. It is also appealing to employees. Like flexible scheduling, telecommuting enables workers to manage their time to suit their lifestyles and energy cycles. They can also save money on commuting and meal costs, allowing them to make up some of the difference from a lower salary.


3.Professional Learning and Development: Employer-sponsored professional development is linked to reduced turnover and increased employee engagement. It’s so highly valued that some HR professionals believe it’s the greatest retention tool they have. There is also intrinsic value to employers: when they invest in their staff, they are equipping them to contribute more skillfully, and in turn, add more value to the organization.

Learning and development opportunities can be offered in a variety of ways such as conferences or professional association memberships, or even formal mentoring programs. Smaller employers with less resources may need to be more creative. They may consider something as simple as information-sharing sessions with executive leaders or informal coffee mornings with the CEO.

We also recommend corporate-sponsored coaching as a way to support employees’ professional growth and development. This may be a longer-term commitment, but the one-on-one customized attention will hone in on an individual employee’s skills to achieve tailored growth and success. We invite you to read more about professional coaching here.

Candidates should carefully evaluate the career development potential in any offer. If the job provides the opportunity to build new skills and knowledge, the experience could lead to higher-paying positions in the long run.


4.Social engagement: Employers are realizing that social connection is vital to a happier, healthier workforce: positive workplace relationships have been shown to be a critical factor for employee health, engagement, and retention. Employees desire more from their work experience than just clocking in and clocking out: they want to interact, collaborate, and dare we say, have fun, with their co-workers.

Many organizations are paying heed and host employee social events to facilitate team building. We’ve known employers to host walking clubs, lunch-time potlucks, and bowling nights. Some go as far as building an onsite games room for employees. There are as many options as there are budgets.

Both employers and employees should take a proactive approach to this particular benefit. After all, a candidate is unlikely to demand a new social program be created in lieu of a higher wage. Therefore, employers should invest the time in developing employee engagement activities as part of their long-term recruitment and retention strategy.  In turn, candidates should take the time to research potential employers for the workplace environment they find most appealing.



Be Creative


The key to negotiating non-monetary benefits is creativity. While an employer may not have unlimited financial capacity, they may be able to offer flexibility and the chance to grow professionally – benefits that may be worth more than a high salary.

We encourage employers to consider all of their resources, not just their budgets, to create innovative total compensation packages. To job seekers, we say don’t turn down an offer that doesn’t meet your salary expectations. Explore the non-material opportunities that could really make it your dream job.


What do you think of these four non-monetary benefits? Have you negotiated for another benefit that we haven’t mentioned here? Let us know!

If you’re an employer who is interested in learning more about how to expand your total compensation package to include non-monetary benefits, please contact us today at info@pivothrservices.ca or 604.916.6199.

Are you looking for help with a workplace issue? We can help! Send us your question to info@pivothrservices.ca and we could feature you in our next Pivot HR911 post (don’t worry, we keep all posts anonymous).


Related Links:


Pivot HR911: I Want to Make a Career Change But I Don’t Know How


Pivot HR911: Is Going Back to My Former Employer Good for My Career? 


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