Executive Perks Less Popular in Down Economy, Survey Finds

MENLO PARK, CA -- Not surprisingly, company cars and country club memberships are showing up in fewer and fewer employment offers today, a new survey shows. When asked which benefits they were least likely to offer in the current business environment, 29 percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) cited executive perks; stock options followed, with 17 percent of the response.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world'’s premier provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with more than 20 employees.

CFOs were asked, "“In the current economic climate, which one of the following are you least likely to offer executive-level job candidates?”" Their responses:


Executive perks   29%
Stock options   17%
Signing bonuses   13%
Performance bonuses   11%
Extra vacation days   7%
None/does not apply   5%
Don't know/no answer    18%


“Making unrealistic demands of prospective employers can backfire,” said Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. “In today'’s era of cost-cutting, it’'s difficult to justify luxury items as part of a new hire'’s employment package. Salary negotiations today are more likely to focus on results-driven incentives, such as bonuses for meeting agreed-upon performance objectives.”

Below are the five most common mistakes job candidates make when negotiating job offers and McDonald’'s tips for avoiding them:

Not knowing what you want. McDonald advises job candidates to have a clear notion of what they consider “must-haves” -- a minimum base salary, for example -- and what they'’re willing to sacrifice, such as NBA season tickets.

Failing to do your homework. Applicants should go into the negotiation process having thoroughly researched the market, including salary and benefits for similar positions. Many organizations, from recruiting firms to professional and trade associations, publish compensation data annually. This information is often available online.

Playing hardball. Being inflexible during negotiations or issuing an ultimatum will immediately put the hiring manager on the defensive. Showing confidence in your abilities is appealing but displaying arrogance is considerably less attractive to employers.

Being shortsighted. Before turning down an offer, evaluate the long-term rewards of the position, such as career advancement or company growth potential. Once you’'ve proven yourself in the role, you'’ll have greater leverage in future negotiations.

Not calculating the total costs. Make sure you can afford to accept the position. If relocation is involved, be sure the salary covers the cost of living in the new city. Also factor in moving-related expenses, particularly if they are not part of the offer.

Robert Half Management Resources has locations in major cities throughout North America, Europe and Australia, and offers online job search services at



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