Seems like a pretty straight-forward question. If you are thinking about going to work for another company, you might just compare the salaries, the one you currently have versus the one with the prospective employer. By comparing only this number, you could end up with less overall earnings. You need to take into account your total compensation, which includes more than just your salary.
This one is the easy one. In my case, I have a base salary and receive bi-monthly paychecks. I like this because it makes my budgeting easier and more predictable. What if I am thinking about working for a company that pays every two weeks, for the same salary? I would actually see my monthly pay decrease for 10 out of 12 months. The reason is bi-monthly means 24 paychecks a year, bi-weekly means 26 paychecks a year. The bi-weekly paychecks are smaller, but you receive 2 more of them.
The other thing to consider is whether you are eligible for any bonus programs. With my current company, I have received bonuses ranging from $5,000 to $15,000. By switching companies, are you foregoing the chance to earn a bonus?
Health benefits can be a large part of your overall compensation. Here are some things to consider. First, does your employer even offer any kind of benefits? Second, does your employer subsidize any portion of the premium? I am lucky enough to work for a company that offers a full range of health benefits and subsidizes some of the cost. I am signed up for health insurance, dental insurance, short and long-term disability insurance, and the company provides basic life insurance. The total cost of all the benefits is almost $15,000 for my family of four. The company subsidizes two-thirds of that cost, or about $10,000. If I switch companies, do I end up having to pay more for my benefits? It is a question you need to ask, so that you do not end up with less in your pocket.
This is another area in which you could lose money by switching companies if you are not paying attention. Again, the company for which I work for offers a 401k plan. They also offer a match of 100% of contributions up to 6%. In addition to this, they contribute 1.5% automatically whether you contribute to the plan or not. So, I naturally contribute to the plan at least 6% and receive 7.5% from the company. That could potentially be a lot of money if I switched companies. With a company match, do they match on bonuses or overtime? My company recently changed the plan to start matching on the annual bonus. Does your current company have a pension or retirement plan? How much do they contribute?
Some other things that may not seem that obvious, but that you should consider are things such as free parking, a gym or gym membership, or a subsidized or free cafeteria. I currently enjoy free parking and a free in-house gym. If I had to estimate an annual cost for both of those benefits, it would be about $1,500 a year, though it is unlikely I would pay for a gym membership, so maybe $1,200 a year. Again, that is not an insignificant amount. If I switched companies and had to pay for parking, I might cost myself money overall.
It is a lot to consider. The easiest way I know how to do it is simply make a list. You just want to make sure that you do not end up being compensated less overall if you make a change. Otherwise you might find yourself a little lighter in the wallet.