It’s not a radical statement. Whether you’re employed full time or part time, people work anywhere from 20 hours to 40 hours a week.

Indeed, the only other activity done nearly as often is sleeping, meaning that those who are employed spend the majority of their time at their workplace.

However, as companies invest more money into creating a home-away-from-home utopia, people have sometimes moved towards prioritising company comforts over company values when they’re applying for work.

The ‘perk’ culture

‘Perk’ culture manifests itself in the number of ‘fringe benefits’ offered to employees who work for a particular company. Companies with big budgets can afford to ‘invest’ in employee loyalty through motivation, such as dedicated games rooms, free gym membership and kitted out kitchens with chefs. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with ‘perk’ culture.

Company values aren’t necessarily reflected in ping-pong tables and weekend retreats in exotic locations

Companies that can afford it should, and will, continue to offer bigger incentives for job seekers. However, applying to companies solely for perks is not entirely the correct approach. It certainly is not an effective tactic to building sustainable and enjoyable careers. Perks are the around-the-edges reality of working for a particular company; they do not indicate company culture, company approach or anything else that is necessary for personal happiness and satisfaction.

Beer Fridays and in-house baristas are nice to have. Remote working possibilities and monetary compensation for using your own car are excellent. The problem occurs when assuming that the perks offered, the company’s work ethic and the task you are being employed to do aren’t in line.

Company values are more than Beer Fridays

Company values aren’t necessarily reflected in ping-pong tables and weekend retreats in exotic locations; company values are what happens when you run into a crisis, how the firm’s top brass reacts, how the company treats its audience and how much they respect the workers they employ. Company values are about whether an employer offers continuous professional development, whether you are compensated fairly for your work and whether there is an open and honest environment to discuss ideas and collaborate.

‘Perk’ is a shortened anglicisation of the medieval Latin ‘perquisitum’ which, translated literally means ‘something acquired for profit’. It can also mean ‘gratuity’, a ‘privilege accessible to a set group of people’. What it does not mean is ‘a substitute for job satisfaction’ or ‘a substitute for personal happiness’, or ‘a substitute for a career’.

Career satisfaction

If you’re sure that the only thing you need in life is a job you don’t like but one that gives you access to perpetual caffeine boosts, then definitely look for the company with the most ‘perquisitums’, and the loudest voice about how many freebies they give their employees.

If you are looking for a career to make you happy and a workplace you look forward to going to, don’t just look at the perks offered. Look at how an employer treats their employees, how they treat their colleagues and how they treat you when you apply. Everything else is a benefit – and that’s how it is supposed to be.

Jean Schaak is managing director of Egg Recruitment. For more information visit or contact


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