Because more people are questioning the "real ability" to fund Social Security in coming years, investments in savings vehicles such as IRAs and 401(k)s are more important than ever, Davis says. Companies that offer a 401(k) match are setting themselves apart from the herd.
"Although perks like free food, flexible dress codes and pet-friendly offices are great, when seeking a new employee or creating a new business, it is essential that businesses -- whether small or large -- offer a comprehensive 401(k) and competitive retirement and pension plans," says Jennifer Friedman, chief marketing officer of small-business legal solutions at
3. Wellness programs
Still relatively new, wellness programs might be more commonly known as employee assistance programs, or EAPs. These programs can help employees with everything from smoking cessation and substance abuse to stress management and weight loss.
"They help employees stay engaged and stay productive, and help them with all of the things going on in their life -- even building a budget," Davis says.
Most EAPs are available for the employee as well as the employee's immediate family -- meaning spouse and children and sometimes parents and brothers and sisters.
For some employers, wellness programs extend to all forms of health care -- even exercise.
"Some companies offer a comprehensive wellness package that provides for reimbursement to gyms or exercise classes," Coles says. "This is especially common at companies that may not have the best health insurance. They try to balance it out by offering a little bit where they can, and sometimes that's of incredible value to employees."
4. Stability and flexibility
"Stability, while certainly not sexy, eventually becomes really important," Davis says. "If you get into a situation where you have to take time off due to some kind of illness, or an illness in your family, you need to know you have quality disability insurance and that your employer has a program to protect you."
No one wants to have to take time off and lose income, or work through an illness. A stable job will provide disability insurance. On the flip side, today's job-seekers also know that a good job will also provide a great deal of flexibility.