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Essential Definitions


A common phrase is salary and benefit negotiation. In that context, "benefits" generally means the indirect financial compensation plus non-financial compensation (ie., everything but your direct financial compensation.) 

Fair Market Value

Fair Market Value (FMV) is a salary range estimate for a given job title in a defined geographic area. FMV can flucuate with the economy, job sector trends, and supply-demand of available workers. An advanced degree, specialized skills, certification or experience may increase one's FMV on the job market. It is important to keep in mind that FMV does not always correlate with how much an employer is willing to pay, as an organization's size and fiscal status are also determining factors. Also know that salaries in the public and nonprofit sectors may not be as high as in private business or in an industry position.  

Financial Compensation

Financial compensation has economic value and is awarded to you by an employer for the work you have performed.

  • Direct financial compensation includes salary, wages, commission, and bonuses, such as cash gifts for meeting performance goals. 
  • Indirect financial compensation may include employer co-paid premiums for health, life, disability insurance; retirement or savings plan; paid time off (e.g., personal time, sick days or vacation days; tuition reimbursement; employer-subsidized daycare; qualified moving expenses; and profit sharing.

Non-Financial Compensation

Non-financial compensation are perks that enhance the attractiveness of the position. Examples include flex time, unpaid leave, business casual attire, career development, recognition programs, work environment. For academic job negotiations, examples may include staff assistants, research or teaching assistants, equipment, reduced teaching load, job search support for your spouse or partner, or modifications to the promotion and tenure review process.     

Total Compensation

Before you accept a job offer, you will want to inquire about (and understand!) the employer's total compensation package, which is a combination of all financial and non-financial compensation associated with a job offer.  


1. The amount you will earn on an annual basis. 
2. Gross pay, before taxes and other withholding.
    To calculate your approximate annual salary:
        - Multiply your monthly salary x 12 months or
        - Multiply your hourly wages x 2080 hrs/yr