Industry News

Year-end Bonuses – Wait to Get Paid or Leave it Behind?

Man sitting on edge of Lake Michigan staring at Chicago Skyline

When making a job change, most everyone leaves something on the table.  At this time of year, there’s even more to consider with year-end bonuses, 401k matches, stock equity grants, deferred income, etc.  So how do you make the decision to wait and receive every available dollar/benefit OR take the new job now to ensure it is your job for the taking.

Here are 5 guidelines to consider:

Identify how much money you are actually talking about.

Be specific.  If you don’t know the exact amount – ask.  And don’t worry about raising unnecessary suspicions.  Most people want to know in advance what to expect.  Now, many companies either don’t know or don’t want you to know until final decisions have been made.  Often, especially in 2020, bonuses are subjective and based on the bank’s overall performance and not solely yours.  Worst case scenario, ask for an estimate but with these other categories get as close to reality as possible.

How does the overall compensation plan compare?

is it significantly better or comparable to what you currently have?  Money is not everything, for sure.  Many of us have had jobs where we were well paid but were less than happy with the “boss, structure, lack of support, constant change in direction, bonus plans, management, etc.”.  But money is important so look at the big picture.  And not just what I call, “walking in the door money” but go out 1 to 3 yrs. and see how the multiplier affect hits your bottom line over time.  Those 2 to 3% annual increases take a long time to catch up to the 10 – 15% raise which is pretty standard when making a job change.

How much do you want the new job? 

Sounds simple, right?  But, it’s a huge factor when it comes to making a career move.  If that kernel of excitement is there, listen to it.  Why lose out on an opportunity due to a timing issue.  If the money is not huge, maybe it is a wise decision to leave these incidentals behind.

If the monies are significant, why not secure the offer now and use a delayed start date? 

There is an expression that time kills all deals so the risk of this path is prevalent BUT if both you and the employer are committed, this alternative often works as long as both parties are confident nothing “significant” could de-rail you joining their ranks.

Use compensation related alternatives to a dollar for dollar offset. 

 Meaning, a smaller sign on with a guarantee on first year’s bonus money; or take a higher base salary with a smaller sign or visa versa; or use equity to offset deferred income or stock with outstanding vesting schedules; or suggest a guarantee on an off cycle salary increase with or without contingencies (could be performance related or the completion of a specific project for e.g.).

The point is, if your expectations are flexible and the big picture kept in mind, you can take your career to the next level without leaving a huge amount of money behind.  An experienced recruiter will know how to help you navigate these waters and often will step in for you in the negotiation process.  A sage client will welcome their experienced counsel and direction.

More About Park Avenue Group

Discover how Park Avenue Group rises above the competition, delivering unparalleled solutions and top-tier candidates that allow your business to succeed.