Benefits

Still a 1/2 gallon

One of the ways in which some companies have tried to keep the prices of their products down is by changing the packaging. It used to be that you would buy a half gallon of ice cream or laundry detergent, but now you’ll find that often you are getting slightly less for the same price you used to pay. For the former that might be a nice way of lowering your portions but for the latter that’s just annoying. I find that to be a subtle point of deception by some companies, and it likely will continue into future.

For those of us that work for a company, we might find a similar erosion in an area that we have come to expect a certain level of benefit. A recent survey from the Society for Human Resource Management found that many companies were lowering the level of benefits that they offer to workers. The costs of those benefits have been rising, and as companies try to keep a certain level of profitability, it seems workers are feeling some of the effects.

I think most of us expect that our health benefits will cost more in the future, at least under the current state of healthcare in the US. Many of us are also sure that the days of regular bonuses are gone for now, but there are some other subtle benefits that you might not realize are disappearing. Tuition reimbursement is going away at many companies, perhaps with the idea that the education isn’t as valuable to companies as in the past. Charitable donations have declined, and it seems less companies are allowing casual dress or flexible work time. That might not impact the technology groups yet, but it’s a trend that concerns me, and perhaps should concern you. Benefits might become more of an issue in the future, especially as you change jobs.

It’s not all bad. There are more companies offering gyms to workers, which I think is great, and more companies offer cell phones to employees. That last trend, however, seems to be leading more of a liability than a benefit.

Steve Jones


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