I had a conversation with a candidate yesterday that may indicate the beginning of a change in how candidates view compensation.
We were discussing his desired compensation versus the range my client was willing to pay. He stated his willingness to accept a lower base salary than he desired would be based upon the total compensation package. This is a standard response I hear often. In the past, total package would mean the base salary, bonus potential, perks and insurance coverage. Previously, candidates were mainly concerned with base salary and bonus potential and nothing further was discussed until the offer package was presented.
In the past employer provided healthcare coverage was a given, rarely did I have a candidate spend much time on it or was it a determining factor in if a candidate would accept an offer from a company. All that has changed. With Health Insurance costs skyrocketing, what portion of the cost of insurance the candidate is expected to pay and what their out of pocket expenses will be if a health problem occurs can mean major dollars and therefore is now more closely coupled to the base salary, Health insurance is no longer a give-me .
I believe that going forward candidates will want to know more about health insurance earlier in the process. Matching a candidate’s salary range desires with a company’s desired pay range will no longer suffice. The new challenge will be matching a candidate’s salary range plus health insurance costs/coverage with a company’s pay scale and insurance offering.
Healthcare Should Matter
For a lot of people, especially those just starting out in their careers, health insurance does not matter much. When I first started I could care less about health insurance. I went over 20 years without seeing a doctor. There was nothing an over-the-counter cough medicine could not cure. The importance of good health insurance is not realized until it is needed.
Three years ago I had a major medical problem. I went from not knowing how to put on a hospital gown to having close to $1M in medical expenses in 2011. With good health insurance I was able to get the very best medical care possible. Only the very best would have been capable of saving my life.
To me, good medical coverage is not a benefit that is wasted, but, a benefit that has a great importance to me. I had no idea what it would mean to me until I needed it. Do not take it lightly.
Buying Health Insurance
I have just completed the process of buying new health insurance. I hope that it will be sufficient. Evaluating various health insurance offerings is not easy.
Some of the basics when looking at insurance coverage are;
What is the deductible?
Is there a limit on out of pocket expenses?
Can I see what doctor I want or do I need to select from a list?
What is the copay/coinsurance?
Prescription drug coverage?
Hospital stay coverage?
For a candidate, take health insurance seriously. You need to realize the costs/benefits when considering an offer.
For employers health insurance is now a recruiting factor. It may determine your ability to attract and retain talent. Be prepared to discuss it much earlier in the recruiting cycle.
Paul Shanfeld is Vice President; Recruitment at Tech Career Search, Inc. (www.techcareersearch.com). Paul spent over 20 years in the Wireless Industry working for some of the most recognizable names in the industry. He has held executive positions in sales, marketing, product management, business development and strategic planning.
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