Evaluating perks posted on 11 May 2024

Google is (or used to be?) known for providing amazing perks – free food, laundry on site, gyms, childcare etc. (while Amazon just provides bananas 😅). From what I’ve seen, for quite a lot of people (especially new grads) these perks are heavily considered into the decision of joining one company or another but they are often not well evaluated.

The first thing you should keep in mind about perks is that they are not part of your contract/compensation, so the company can remove them at any time without notice. This is especially important to keep in mind these days as tech companies are heavily cutting on costs (see all the recent layoffs).

Most perks can be evaluated on 2 dimensions: their monetary value and the convenience they provide:

  • The monetary value of a perk can in general be easily computed – if the company gives you a X% match on your 401k contribution, this can just be counted as additional compensation.
  • The convenience of a perk is a bit more subjective, but they are often about time saved – e.g. having a gym onsite means that you do need to travel between home/work to the gym, getting free lunch means you don’t need to cook/prep a meal every working day, etc.

Thinking about perks in these 2 dimensions should allow you to better evaluate them and make a better decision when joining one company or another. For example, I’ve heard a candidate saying they were considering Google over another company just because they had free laundry onsite – they didn’t realize that they could get this perk for a insignificant amount of money (relative to their compensation)

Some perks can be priceless though – some dog owners wouldn’t consider a company if they cannot bring their dog onsite. My 2 cents is that this is one of the types of perks companies should focus on but this is the topic for another post.

What are the perks you value the most?

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