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I recently got my first job offer as a Software Engineer in a well reputed company in Germany. I just got the confirmation via email from the HR manager and I am expecting to get the contract soon.

Just want to know, which benefits should I keep in mind while signing the contract? I mean, if I introspect 6-months or an year down the line and I feel I wish I had negotiated/demanded this benefit at the beginning it would have been wonderful!

Please suggest points to keep in mind based on your experiences. I am sure there would be many out there who would have had this question while introspecting after few months. Thanks!

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    Particularly at larger companies, there's often not a lot you can negotiate for benefits - there's a standard package that every junior-level employee gets. – David K Apr 8 '15 at 19:43
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    German cultural norms are different here is one Aussie writing about the differences internations.org/germany-expats/guide/… – Pepone Apr 8 '15 at 21:22
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I have been quite pleased so far without any extra demands with the following benefits, which I have discovered that they are not common in other IT companies at least in Finland, so perhaps you may need to ask for these benefits:

  • Liberal remote work policies (I can remote work whenever I want with no questions asked)
  • The ability to leave early to run personal errands, and then continue working "after-hours" either remotely or at the office
  • Quite free external training, provided you can prove the need for it
  • I think the first two are pretty company specific policies. Those would be things the OP could have sought out when seeking the position. – Brian Apr 8 '15 at 19:54
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    By remote working you mean working from home or anywhere else right? – learner Apr 8 '15 at 19:55
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    @learner: yes. I have even worked remotely from another country on a sort-of extended weekend :) – Juha Untinen Apr 8 '15 at 19:57
  • This sounds great! I wish it is possible for me too!!! Thanks for the tip! – learner Apr 8 '15 at 19:58
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I'm not sure whether these can be considered benefits or perks, but here are a few I came across multiple times, or are quite common (in Holland):

All of the below, or a combination of (most of the time) 2 out of these 3:

  • Lease car of choice, limited by x-budget (also with fuel card) or business travel card
  • Business mobile phone
  • Laptop

Things that are a bit less common:

  • Opportunity to manage your own pension
  • (Company) gym card, or atleast a discount at the gym
  • Course/training/workshop relevant to your workfield, paid in full by your company
  • Personally I wouldn't consider a business mobile phone either a perk or a benefit as it's just another way to be bothered by the boss when I am not at work! – davidjwest Apr 13 '15 at 12:11
  • Since this is about a first job in Germany, I'd just say that getting a car is unusual for junior level employees unless the job involves lots of traveling. However, it's more common once you get to the lower management levels. – Sumyrda - Reinstate Monica May 14 '15 at 21:57
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For technological industries, I find the following benefits to be most prevalent:

  • 401K - Employers that will match your 401K contributions are essentially paying you extra on top of your normal paycheck just to plan for your financial future. This is a huge benefit to take into account, and worth inquiring about with your prospective employer.
  • Medical/Health Coverage - A lot of employers provide healthcare, dental, and eye care coverage at lower rates than private insurance companies. This is especially beneficial if you have a family to keep happy and healthy.
  • Stock Options - If you plan to stick around for a long time, the company may offer stock options once you meet certain requirements. This is an excellent way to invest in your own work if you believe in the company's future and can count on its success. This is also another great way to get more value out of your employment.
  • PTO - Everyone needs a little vacation. Ask your employer how many paid days off you get per year, as these can be easily negotiated and are worth their weight in gold when you just need to get away for a few days without any impact on your paycheck.
  • Education/Certifications - Many employers will put you through courses or school that will boost your experience and qualifications. This not only benefits your employer, but will also strengthen your resume for future prospective employers. Don't miss any opportunity to gain some free education that normally costs a bunch of money for courses and testing.
  • Very useful and informative! Thanks a lot! I had no idea about 401k and company sponsored certifications. – learner Apr 8 '15 at 19:53
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    OP did mention Germany, where the equivalent to 401k, medical insurance, and PTO are required by law. This is very common throughout Europe. Education is fairly common among employers, but stock options are often rare. There may be stock offerings every couple of years, where you can buy stock at a guaranteed ROI %. – Juha Untinen Apr 8 '15 at 19:56
  • Thank you Juha, I admit I don't know much about European common benefits. I do also agree with you about the ability to work remote. I have the same privilege when needed and it can make managing your time and vacations much easier. – PeerPressure Apr 8 '15 at 19:59
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    @learner 401's don't exist in that form in Germany – Pepone Apr 8 '15 at 21:19
  • I believe this question can apply to more than just Germans. I'm glad some people are able to clarify for OP, but 401Ks may be applicable to others with this question. – PeerPressure Apr 8 '15 at 21:33

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