Compare and quantify remuneration BEFORE changing jobs

For some high earning executives, understanding the full value of their remuneration requires considerable time and effort.  Unfortunately, time is a rare resource but nevertheless when changing jobs it’s important to compare and quantify your entire remuneration so you’re well informed when negotiating with a prospective employer. 

The combined value of your base salary, superannuation, bonuses, executive share schemes, short and long term share grants and various other all need to be accurately calculated and compared to what’s on offer when changing employers.

Adding to the complexity is that it’s often a matter of having to compare apples with oranges as some remuneration benefits are exclusive to particular companies.

As a Financial Adviser and Executive Share Scheme (ESS) strategist, I’m often called upon to help executives with this time consuming task.

In my experience there are six key remuneration considerations that need close scrutiny as each has the potential for significantly impacting personal financial prosperity.

1: Base Salary

Comparisons of your base salary should be reasonably straightforward. However, you may need to take a closer look at any differences in compensation arrangements.  Other base salary matters would include review policies including when the review occurs each year.  If this is different from your current employer, it could provide an opportunity for any future increase in your base salary to be captured for long term benefits.

2: Cash Bonus (Short Term Incentive)

Cash bonuses or short term incentives should also be compared.  For many companies, incentives are calculated as a percentage of salary with a multiplier based on performance of the business unit or company for which the executive is responsible. Naturally, you would need to compare the multiplier applied to existing and future arrangements.

3: Superannuation

Comparing super arrangements needs careful attention as it can be multifaceted.

While employers are legally obliged to pay super contributions on the maximum super contributions base, some employers pay the statutory rate on all salary earned.

Additionally some employers pay a higher than statutory rate on all salary earned while other employers may pay super on cash bonuses too.

Clarification on how super contributions are paid on cash bonuses or if it’s limited to the base salary only will be necessary for establishing the value of your current and future arrangements.

Should your current or future employer offer a higher rate of contribution outside statutory super requirements (11.00% for 2023-24, increasing incrementally to 12% by 1 July 2025) the value could be less in future years.

4: Share Grants

This is where quantifiable comparisons can become more complex.

Short Term Incentive:

Depending on the business and seniority, you may receive share grants as part of your short term incentive. A proportional split of short term incentive of cash and shares is more common for senior roles.

If you currently have, or will have, a short term incentive in the form of shares with a prospective employer, it’s important to understand the percentages of the proportional split as well as what your vesting timeframe is, and whether you would be subjected to regular trading blackout periods.

Long Term Incentive:

In executive positions at ASX listed companies, you’re likely to receive your long term incentive in the form of shares, rights or options in the company employing you.

The number of shares, rights or options can vary significantly from company to company. The key is understanding what you will be allocated and comparing your current arrangements against the proposed remuneration structure. You will also need to know if share grants for long term incentives are part of a ‘management’ share plan or a ‘performance’ share plan.

Rather than take up space explaining the differences in these share awards here, I’d be pleased to discuss it with you should you require clarification.

Suffice to say, both awards carry the risk of share price movements from grant to vest (and beyond). It’s imperative to understand what the differences are, particularly if you currently receive a management share award and your future employer only offers performance share awards.

5: Matching Share Awards

These schemes commonly operate whereby post-tax pay roll deductions are used to purchase shares in your employer company, which are then matched by the company with a future vesting period.

While this is a lesser benefit than long term incentives, some employers offer such schemes, and they too should be considered in any future offer of employment and any potential benefits lost when changing employers.

6: Unvested Awards

When departing an employer, unvested company share awards are usually forfeited.

This can vary from award to award, so it’s important to understand the plan rules including any consequences before making your decision to resign.  The solution could be a matter of timing your resignation under after the awards vest so you may reap the benefits that may include cash bonuses.

However, for prospective employers unwilling to wait they may consider offering a similar one-off share scheme award to compensate for any forfeited prior company shares.  In such as situation, the prospective employer would likely request proof of any existing awards before agreeing to replace them.

Next Steps

Negotiating remuneration arrangements very often relies on good record keeping.

Having the details of your current employment contract and superannuation arrangements, allowances and employee share scheme awards on hand will provide clarity necessary for productive negotiations.

Most importantly, having quantified and compared the value of your renumeration allows informed decision making that can factor in non-financial opportunities and experiences that may be more important or more valuable to you.

If you could benefit from advice regarding remuneration or assistance reviewing and quantifying your remuneration package for employment negotiations, please contact James Marshall on +61 (0) 7 3007 2000 or email

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To learn more about ESS financial management, please contact James Marshall on +61 (0) 7 3007 2080 or email

To learn more about James, visit this link.

Webinar: ESS Accumulate wealth and Avoid paying MORE tax than you should!
Tuesday 29th August 12:30 to 1:30
Presenters:  James Marshall, Financial Adviser & ESS Strategist & Craig Barry, Accountant & Specialist Tax Adviser.
For more details and to register, click here.

Executive Strategies is a specialised information hub for executives and senior managers who may have founded their own business or who work for growing private, ASX listed companies or government businesses. Its purpose is to provide access to specialist advisers and information that addresses the often-complex issues affecting their personal prosperity. Stratus Financial Group and its advisers are Authorised Representatives of Fortnum Private Wealth ABN 54 139 889 535 AFSL 357306. This advice is general and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should not act on it without first obtaining professional financial advice specific to your circumstances.

*Please note: For advice and services relating to this matter that are not offered under the Fortnum Private Wealth AFSL, in accordance with our collaborative advice model, when required, such matters are referred to appropriately qualified professionals.