From an employee standpoint, when you start a new job, you accept a certain salary in exchange for spending 40 hours a week behind a desk, or doing a certain task.
But few people realise that there are often additional perks and expenses related to work. Based on these, two jobs with the same onboarding salary can be more or less attractive.
First, some companies offer a match on your pension contributions. That is basically free money, and something you can’t miss on. Especially if you have just joined the company, and they take the contributions out of your first pay slip, you won’t miss the money, and learn to live on whatever after tax salary amount is at the bottom of the slip.
Little amounts do add up over time, and this is a golden opportunity to build a nest egg for retirement.
Then, there are the in kind perks, such as a free pass to the local gym, or help with childcare costs. Again, if you do plan on using the gym, or have kids, this is something you should learn and read carefully about, to make sure you make the most of what is offered to you by the company.
There are also nationwide schemes, such as the cycle to work scheme. You can buy a bicycle tax free (the amount of the purchase, including safety equipment such as a helmet or padlock) is taken from your gross salary, and if your company allows, you can pay said amount interest free over 12 months.
That is a brilliant way to get fit, save money on petrol, and clear your head after work.
Speaking of petrol, let’s move on to work expenses. Doing your job may mean you have to incur certain expenses, such as petrol when you are visiting clients, mileage if you do so by using your own vehicle, hotel nights, restaurants, and so on.
Some companies make things easier, by getting for example fuel cards via iCompario, so you use them the same way you would use a debit card when you fuel up your car, and then you do not need to claim the expense to your company.
However, most companies are still expecting you to front the expense, then ask for a refund. Again, ask your boss for details of how that works, whether there is a per diem (meaning you might be allowed to say spend £80 per hotel night, but if you only spend £50, your company would pay you £80, the same amount they would if you paid £120), or you are refunded for exact amounts, in which case, ask if there are maximum amounts for meals, accommodations, etc.
Do not accept a “whatever is reasonable”, because your definition of a £130 reasonable client lunch might not be their definition of a £40 reasonable client lunch. Gone are the Mad Men days were you could slide the company card for nights of unlimited alcohol and get away with it.
If you have a per diem however, being reasonable with your expenses can mean coming back home with a little extra money.
Also make sure you always keep all your receipts, and if you do not give them to your company for claiming your refunds, keep them for a while just in case you get audited.
Once you take all that into account, you can put a number on your “real” salary, and know if the job you have or are looking at is worth it.