Job Quests In Uncertain Times: Benefits May Outweigh Salary

Compiled By Deborah Austin Salary may take a back seat to benefits on private-sector professionals' job wish lists, suggests a recent survey by online job board TrueCareers, Reston, Va., a Sallie Mae subsidiary. Of respondents -- a mix of employed, unemployed and underemployed professionals -- 84% said they'd accept a job with lower pay if it offered a generous benefits-package. Sixty-eight percent have seen compensation packages' value decrease in the last six to 12 months. The most important benefit: health/dental insurance, ranked "important" or "very important" by 92%. Least important: maternity/paternity leave and stock option/purchase plans. This represents a pendulum shift from recent years, when salary commanded top importance -- with options and quality of life also big draws -- says Michael Caggiano, TrueCareers CEO. Now candidates are more concerned with security issues, he says. Today's economic situation has moved candidates from being in the driver's seat to more defensive positions: "They're not only hoping to get a job, but a job they can stick with during this period."

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