Consider the following before accepting a job offer

Job offer

While salary is always an important factor, there are a range of accompanying finances that should be taken into account when contemplating a job offer. The employment offer in its entirety should be scrutinised through a discerning lens to ensure that you fully understand the economic consequences of accepting the offer. Here’s what to consider.

The nature of your employment contract

Before making a decision, it is important that you receive the offer and proposed employment contract in writing, and that you fully understand the nature of the position being offered in terms of whether it is a permanent position, fixed-term contract, or temporary position. Further, be clear on whether the offer sets out your basic salary prior to add-on benefits, or whether it’s a cost-to-company amount that includes the value of all benefits. Ideally, ask your prospective employer to prepare a breakdown of your salary, deductions, and your final take-home pay, and for details as to when and how your salary will be paid each month.

Your retirement fund benefit

Determine whether the prospective employer provides retirement fund benefits and the nature of these benefits. Larger employer groups often offer retirement fund benefits in the form of a pension or provident fund, while smaller employers may offer membership of a group retirement annuity. Either way, determine which investment company is being used, what investment strategies are available to choose from, the level at which you can contribute, whether your employer contributes to the fund on your behalf, and what administration platform is being used.

Your group risk cover

With the added advantage of being subject to group underwriting as opposed to personal underwriting, group life cover is generally more cost-effective than if you were to take out cover in your personal capacity – meaning that group life and disability cover can be very attractive benefits. Many employers offer group life cover as a multiple of annual income, for instance, two times or three times your annual salary. When it comes to providing an income protection benefit, employers generally provide cover as a percentage of income, for instance, 75% of your monthly income. Importantly, find out whether the income protection benefit includes cover in the event of a temporary disability as the risk of this form of disability is much higher than that of permanent disability. Additional benefits that are sometimes included in group risk policies include funeral benefits and dread disease cover, so find out if these options are available. If the group life cover includes a continuation option, this can be advantageous to you in the event that you resign or become retrenched as it would allow you to effectively continue your cover in your personal capacity free of medical underwriting.

Healthcare cover

Many employers make membership of a medical scheme a condition of employment, so find out whether this is the case and, if so, whether you are free to belong to any registered medical aid or if you’re required to join your employer’s designated medical aid. If this is the case, determine whether the medical aid is an open medical scheme or whether the scheme is a private one run by the employer group. If the prospective employer offers a medical aid subsidy, find out the details of how this works, which plan options it applies to, and whether the subsidy continues into retirement.

Leave policy

Besides your annual leave, what other leave does the employment contract make provision for? Are you free to take your annual leave at any time of the year, or does the employer restrict when you can take your annual leave? What is the company’s policy when it comes to maternity and paternity leave? Will the employer support leave for your future education goals? Is there a compassionate leave benefit? How does the employer’s leave policy stack up against industry norms? Most importantly, find out what the company’s general attitude is towards employees taking leave. You’ll benefit enormously by working for a company that encourages leave and takes employee wellness and mental health seriously. 

Incentives and bonuses

Ensure that any promises of incentives, commissions or bonuses are reduced to writing and that you are clear as to how they will be calculated and when they will be paid. If you may be required to work overtime, determine at what rate you will be paid, how this overtime will be recorded, and when your overtime will be paid to you.

Expenses incurred in fulfilment of your job

Be sure to get upfront clarity with regard to how any additional expenses, such as cell phone, travel and hardware costs, will be covered. If you are required to travel for the company, will they provide you with a travelling allowance and an allowance for out-of-town expenditure? If you use your cell phone for work-related functions, will the employer reimburse these costs? Are you required to purchase your own laptop or computer? Who pays for software upgrades and license renewals?

Retrenchment benefits

Understanding your retrenchment benefits is of great importance. As a minimum, the employer is required to provide you with one week’s remuneration per completed year of service, plus any outstanding leave paid in full. That said, many reputable employers make provision for more generous retrenchment benefits, so be sure to determine what these are.

Education and training

Tertiary education is enormously expensive and if you have a desire to study further in your field of expertise, find out what the employer’s policy is in this regard. Many employers subsidise employee studies either in part or in full, so discuss your future study options with the prospective employer to determine whether they are open to assisting you with future studies, and what funding opportunities are available to you. At the same time, talk to the employer about career and growth opportunities, how they envision your role developing in the organisation, and the potential career options available to you within the organisation.

Office location

Where the employer’s offices are located and whether they provide staff parking is important as these factors can add an additional layer of costs to your monthly expenditure. Where are the offices in relation to where you live? How much longer will it take you to get to and from work, and will this impact on your monthly fuel costs? Will you need to secure after-care or au pair services as a result of the additional travelling time? Would it be more cost-effective to move closer to your employer? These are all factors that need to be carefully considered.

Work-from-home opportunities

Depending on your personal circumstances, you may want to gauge your prospective employer’s attitude towards working from home or working flexible hours if and when necessary. How accommodating will they be if you need to work from home in order to care for a sick child? Are they sympathetic to the personal needs of their employees? Are they clock-watchers or do they trust you to get the job done?

Research prospective employer

Spend time doing your homework and researching the prospective employer group, and pay specific attention to the company’s culture, staff retention, reputation in the marketplace, plans for growth, and their propensity for innovation, diversity and forward-thinking. Make sure that you are the right fit for the company, and vice versa. 


Finally, be sure to know upfront the value of your skills, qualifications, and experience so that you can determine whether you are being offered a market-related package. If you’re confident in your ability to do the job and satisfied that you meet all criteria in respect of qualifications and job experience, enter the negotiations confidently and be clear on what you are willing to settle for.

Have a super day.


Let's talk

For a free consultation with no obligations, please fill in your details and we will contact you to set up a meeting.