health insurance and retiree healthcare benefits. And while employers had absorbed many of the healthcare cost increases in recent years, that’s likely to change. “Employers won’t be able to shoulder the entire burden — many have already made adjustments in employee co-pays or will in the near future,” says SHRM President and CEO Susan Meisinger.
The 2002 survey also shows a decline in benefits related to education and career development. The number of organizations offering educational assistance fell from 88% in 1998 to 79% in 2002. In addition, firms offering career counseling fell from 32% to 29% over the past year.
Sure, employers are still giving bonuses for individual or team performance — after all, the bonus is still a mighty incentive for hiring and retention. But the percentage of the bonus is smaller says Clarke. “Companies can’t eliminate them, but they certainly are capping the upside,” she notes. Also, in many cases, signing bonuses are reserved for senior-level job candidates who may be leaving money on the table at their old company. Says Clarke, “They aren’t just to sweeten the pie; now, there has to be a good reason for giving one.” However, she notes, because of the current economic climate, this is short-term.
When you think benefits, think bare-bones basics like a retirement plan, as well as health, dental, disability, and life insurance. Goodies like country club memberships and a company car may not be handed over as readily as in years past. “The perks have gone bye-bye to some degree. But sometimes they’re offered later,” says Tracy V. McMillan, president and CEO of The McMillan Group, diversity recruiting and retention consulting specialists in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. “Particularly if you’re a CEO or CFO, you may be given access to a cell phone or a fully-equipped home office.”
One person who hopes to attract a top-notch compensation package is Randy Partee. Until last September, Partee, 48, was vice president and general manager for Ralston Purina’s business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), where he oversaw a thousand employees. He was essentially the company’s CEO for Europe. However, the company merged with Nestl├ę at the end of 2001, and while he stayed through the integration of the business, he decided to explore other career opportunities. Partee, who lives in Atlanta with his wife and four children, spent more than 20 years at Ralston in a variety of areas, including stints as a financial analyst, strategic planner, chief information officer, and director of marketing.
So what can someone like Partee ask for in terms of position and benefits? He’s looking for a general manager-type of position with a major company, a CEO position at a small company, a position as a COO of a mid- to large-sized company, or to head a major division of a multinational corporation. He says someone with his experience could ask for benefits such as a company car; stock options; long-term, tax-deferred bonus; financial planning support; signing bonus; trailing spouse program; low-interest or no-interest loan; and more, particularly