I have a couple of friends who work in the retail industry and the one ‘perk’ that comes with that is the very generous staff discounts. So much so, that it seems to succeed in convincing such employees that it would never make sense to leave the employment of said retailer. From the company’s perspective, this perk is clearly achieving its goal of staff retention, but from the perspective of the employee, do not let it fool you.

Yes, staff discounts are great. But it is unlikely that they are as advantageous as we make them out to be. Do a little exercise for yourself. Go back and look at your statements. Calculate the monetary value of one calendar years’ worth of savings (that is, staff discount) for all purchases made. While it might not be a small amount, it probably is not a large enough amount to drive your decision to stay in a company’s employment, is it?

Some of my friends have gone as far as to say that they need to get a job at company X because they shop there all the time and they want the staff discount that comes with working there. Why not just get a job somewhere else that pays you a little bit more? You could then use those increased earnings to buy the best product at whichever store is selling it and not be limited to your employer’s store only. Variety is much better.

Let’s be honest, if you are receiving staff discounts from the company you work for, you know you have sometimes bought something at one of your company’s stores when you actually wanted something else at a store you do not get a discount at.

Staff discounts are not the only example worth mentioning. Business class flights, holidays away at the company penthouse, box tickets at the cricket/rugby, or even your own parking bay? Yes, these things are nice. Yes, at that particular moment of consumption they might bring you happiness and remind you why you love your job. I am not saying you should not enjoy them. Merely, warning that they are overrated if the other elements of your job are getting you down. Are these ‘perks’ reminding you why you love your job, or why you put up with your job? If the latter, it is probably not worth it.

Why not endeavour to get a job somewhere where you will get the best job satisfaction and have the best career growth opportunities? Surely those should be some of the factors we should be weighting fairly heavily when considering our future employment?

At least more heavily weighted than staff discounts. Put into perspective what matters to you and what really makes you happy.

Author: Gizelle Willows CA(SA) MCom Finance is Senior Lecturer in Financial Reporting at the University of Cape Town


Please note that the author of this article (Gizelle Willows CA(SA)) of this article is not a certified financial advisor in terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act  37 of 2002. Accountancy SA and the author cannot be held liable for any loss (including indirect and consequential loss) arising from your reliance on the opinions given in this article. Should you nevertheless elect to rely on this article, you do so at your own risk and agree to indemnify Accountancy SA and the author from any loss or damage that you may suffer as a result.