Job offers come with many different types of compensation in addition to salary. In fact, some surveys show one benefit considered even more important than a salary offer when they’re considering whether to accept a job: opportunities for continuing education.
Whether you’re pursuing a higher degree or simply taking classes to enhance your skill set, tuition assistance is an important part of a benefits package in an employment environment that requires everyone to stay on top of the rapid changes in their industries. Career expert Julie Davern says that even in the midst of recessionary cutbacks, it’s one of the most important benefits a company can provide.
“I think smart companies have tried to retain tuition reimbursement as a means to help them evolve through the economic downturn and have a highly educated, current workforce,” Davern says. “I think we now have to accept that learning is a part of what we need to continue to do throughout our life, so most employers will have some program or another.”
Although most career experts will advise you not to bring up salary in the first interview, continuing education opportunities are a different story.
“I would see it as a positive on the part of a candidate, and I think it’s fine to ask right from the get-go,” Davern says. It shows you’re invested in your future with the company, and want to stay on top of changes in your industry.