Jargon Buster: Salary, Benefits and Incentives

Sabbaticals, golden hello, pension plan? What are all these? Be confused no longer!
Gradsingapore Author Team
The gradsingapore Team
The gradsingapore Team

Aside from the usual salary, most companies and organisations have a variety of other packages and benefits to reward their employees with as well, and it’s important that you recognise the variety of compensations if they were to negotiate their hiring package successfully.

Find out what differs between a bonus and a golden hello, the true value of getting a company car or mobile phone, and what else you can request for if your employer is flexible. These are also good bargaining chips if you want to negotiate for certain benefits in the case of a lower-than-expected pay.



These periodic sums are often awarded based on the company’s yearly performance. There are also occasion-specific bonuses, such as Christmas bonuses, but these are rarely definite. Always remember to ask about the structure of payment – some companies may stretch the payment throughout the year in order to manage the books.





This form of incentive plan is on top of your basic salary. Commission payments can be a lucrative form of income, so be sure to ask about the percentage that you’ll be given and other terms and conditions that apply to it!




Company car

As grand as driving a company car sounds, there will be financial responsibilities once you take on the company’s offer to loan you a car. Some companies can also be quite strict with their personal mileage policy, and this can be a make-or-break factor.

Alternatively, ask if you could be entitled to car allowances instead if you decide not to take a company car. This can be a more economical option.




Some graduates put a lot of importance on the opportunity to educate themselves on the job. Most companies offer such opportunities and benefits, such as funding their employees’ education. This usually comes with being bound to the company for a certain period of time, so check to see if the time is worth the opportunity!




Golden hello

Also known as signing bonuses, golden hellos are not offered only to high-ranking executives! Some companies and organisations offer them to graduate employees as well. Golden hellos are also sometimes extended to highly sought-after graduates to sweeten the deal made by the recruiting company.




If your company provides insurance, you’ll be able to go for health consultations, tests and operations without having to worry about payment. But make it a point to clarify tax matters and additional expenses that you may have to bear, as well as the maximum amount that you can be reimbursed in any situation.



Mobile phones

Although company-allocated phones are exclusively for work-related calls, some companies will give some allowance for personal calls.



Pension plan

Most companies are required, by law, to pay a certain amount to a social security institution for their employees’ provident/retirement fund. However, some organisations may take the initiative to provide their own programmes as well. These are typically optional, and point to the company’s goodwill and generosity. That said, always check the terms and conditions that accompany these schemes, such as the form of payout and hidden charges.




Some large companies may also offer compensation in the form of sabbaticals after you’ve worked for a certain period of time. This has shown to be an attractive form of benefit for many young graduates. However, depending on the company’s policy, the sabbaticals may be paid or unpaid.



Stock options

This is normally a more plausible option if a company is just starting up and is courting a highly-sought graduate. There are risks and advantages to this incentive, and you’ll have to evaluate its worth before you sign the agreement.