The Weekender: Cronuts vs Cash

Perks and benefits for staff members have become increasingly popular in the job market, with companies presumably alive to the fact that news of their generosity will not just be spread through word of mouth but also be Instagrammed (notice I didn’t say Snapchatted!) and shared within social circles, thus making them more attractive to anybody looking to join a company with a ball pool and a cavapoo.

From a business perspective, the popularity of perks and benefits is reflected by the growth of companies such as Perkbox, Huddlebuy and Staff Treats. What may have started with pension schemes and car allowances has evolved into office pugs and pool tables. From a personal perspective, office perks are great! Whether it’s pastries on a Monday or tickets to events on a Thursday, it’s certainly appreciated and always brightens the day. However, has the market reached ‘peak perk’, and are companies simply providing them as an opiate so their newbies don’t start asking for more cash?

From an outside perspective, it can seem as though this is what millennial candidates are looking for – free smashed avocado on toast and playing video games during their lunch breaks. Indeed, some of the candidates I’ve advised have been swayed by these benefits. People love being taken out for dinner or getting a discounted gym membership, but crucially, not so much if it comes at the cost of a below-market base salary. When it comes to exploring new job opportunities, many firms brag about their cool perks but we millennials are quick to see straight through it as a ruse if this isn’t matched with a decent base salary.

When speaking with both friends and candidates within the media and tech space, I’ve noticed a pattern of what can only be referred to as very ‘extra’ perks and low base salaries. The reality is that many young people may join off the back of free cronuts and an office labradoodle, but their pastry and canine love affairs soon wear off if they’re skint come the 19th of every month.

Granted, to pursue any new role a candidate primarily needs to have a passion for it and be interested in the company. Moreover, it may well be argued that those said factors are all that should matter, regardless of the salary package. At the end of the day, it’s undeniable that office perks are much appreciated, who wouldn’t like a glow-in-the-dark ping pong table in the common room? The point that needs to be stressed, however, is that mere perks on the job shouldn’t take the centre stage but be an addition to the whole package.

Have a great weekend.

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