When Salary and Compensation Are Two Different Things

  • AlphaSights
Life & Careers

Salary. For some, that’s the most important factor when evaluating a potential position. What is my base pay? How big is the potential bonus? How quickly will I be eligible for a raise? These are entirely rational questions to ask yourself while going through the job search process.

At AlphaSights, we think paying employees fairly is of utmost importance and we also understand the expenses that come with living in major cities where our offices are. That’s why we pay market rates to our employees for their base salaries. We want our employees to live comfortably and be able to engage with all of the incredible opportunities and experiences our office location cities have to offer.

In order to reward employees for delivering excellence, we also have an uncapped bonus structure in place. We are a meritocracy where you are the driver of your success. If you work hard and innovate, you will see results in the value you add to the company and our bonus structure will pay you accordingly.

But, while we value salary significantly at AlphaSights, there’s something we’ve found our employees value even more: compensation. For some jobs, salary and compensation are the same thing; to us, they are entirely different. Salary is measured purely by dollars or pounds. Dollars are appealing, but they can also leave you unfilled and empty. Compensation, on the other hand, is what the job provides to you. When considering what the full compensation package looks like at a company, these are some of the questions we recommend you ask yourself:

  • Is the company disrupting an industry? Is it growing fast?
  • Are your co-workers motivated by the work the company is doing and passionate about where the company is going or is money their only intrinsic motivation?
  • Are there opportunities to move both horizontally and vertically at the firm should you want to flex your skill sets?
  • Will the company provide you with robust network of the best and the brightest people?
  • Does the management support innovation? Do they [the company's leaders] place a special focus on developing you as a professional? Are you encouraged to run with your ideas and add value beyond just your day-to-day job?
  • What is the culture like? Does the company go the extra mile to foster a collaborative work environment? Does coming to work make you feel energized, rather than sapped?
  • What sort of perks does your company offer? Are there monthly events and speaker sessions which help you learn?
  • Will working make not just your professional life but personal life fuller? Does the company foster an environment where you can be yourself?
  • Does the company value a work-life balance? What is the expected number of hours you’re supposed to work each week? This one speaks to both salary and compensation - a starting salary of 80k isn’t actually a lot of money when you’re working 80 hours a week and have to work weekends. Break it down hourly; you’ll see.
  • When you inevitably leave that company, will you leave one day having grown professionally? Will you be equipped with the network, skills, and guidance to succeed at your next endeavor? Will you have a better understanding of what you want to do with your life?

Because cultural fit is such a big deal for us at AlphaSights, if salary is the highest swaying factor for a candidate, we’re comfortable that a candidate is not right for us and feel okay parting ways. A company’s holistic compensation package is what you should properly assess, and at AlphaSights, we are committed to compensating our employees in ways far beyond what salary alone can.