I am looking at the job market at the moment, and trying to figure out what would be "worth it" in terms of target salary.

One of the things that making it difficult is on call pay and bonus.

I get these things at the moment, in addition to a base salary. (on call is about 1 week in 6)

I also get some "overtime" when it is for work that must be done out of hours. (scheduled outages etc.)

And overall, this improves my base salary by around 10-15% most years.

How would you value that when looking at new jobs? Is it reasonable to take current effective compensation (including the non guaranteed extra pay), and compare that against what's contractually guaranteed when looking at a new position?


2 Answers 2

  1. Establish a baseline of what amount of money you want to live comfortably with. If the base salary without bonus is below that, don't take the job. There is a huge difference in personal satisfaction between "Not enough money" and "Enough money", but the difference in satisfaction between "Enough money" and "Even more money" is small.

  2. Put the bonus into a big bag of goodies together with other soft factors like work life balance, commute distance, gym membership, how much you like the kind of work, etc. What weights you assign to each of these is entirely personal.

  • I like both parts of this answer. The "establish a baseline" should be pretty easy, what's the total value on your tax returns? This historical value is your aggregate pay.
    – Baronz
    Feb 21, 2016 at 18:39

There are two different aspects here: valuing a job offer, and negotiating a job offer.

A company I used to work for had an elaborate scheme for paying up to 15% bonuses depending on profit, performance, etc. Unfortunately they were also chronically loss-making, so they never actually paid out a cent. Actual value of the bonus to me when comparing salaries: $0.

But when I received an offer from a different company and started negotiating it, of course I mentioned this: "Well, your 15% bonus is nice, but my current company has the same plan, so this works out about the same. Can we revisit the base salary?" (Even though I knew well that the new company makes steady profits and pays out the 15% like clockwork.)

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