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Who Really Benefits From Job Perks?

LOS ANGELES ( — While there are some companies where perks cap out at free coffee, there are other places where workers are showered with luxuries: on-site massages, getaways, food stipends – the works.

India Cosper is employed by the latter, and loves it.

The Valley Village resident recently started working at Allied Wallet, an e-commerce services company ranked among Fortune Magazine's "10 Great Workplaces For Millenials."

"A lot of the perks just surpass everything I could imagine: Friday lunches, weekly massages, a $50 stipend in the cafe downstairs. It's really incredible," Cosper said.

Their offices have a view of the Sunset Strip, and employees go out for happy hour together.

Moe Diab, Allied Wallet's COO, explains the reasoning behind offering employees these kinds of perks: "We wanted this place to be an escape for people, so when people come to work, they can just be happy."

"We do work very hard, but we also have a lot of fun, too," Cosper said.

And Google remains a popular destination among tech workers for their notable perks including unlimited gourmet food and beverages, on-site gyms and creative workspaces.

Facebook and Apple recently announced they will now pay for egg freezing, a procedure for women who choose to delay childbearing.

"If you're in an industry with an extremely tight labor supply, such as high tech, you could make an argument that they're as important as the arms race to get more than your share of programmers," said Gerry Ledford of USC's Marshall School of Business.

Ledford has researched employee reward systems for 35 years. He cautions job seekers about the lure of enticing work perks, saying they are often "golden handcuffs" to longer hours.

"What's more important to employees is how much they're paid, what kind of standard benefits they get, what kind of job that they do, what their relationships are like at work – such things are going to far outweigh the value of a few fun perks," Ledford said.

He says jobseekers should make sure the perks don't mask other motives, such as lower salaries or reduction in benefits.

But Allied Wallet's management disagrees. They say the perks are just that – perks.

Last year, Allied Wallet's owner recognized Diab as Employee of the Year and surprised him with a brand-new Mercedes-Benz convertible.

Diab said: "It was a little shocking, but very exciting. We've grown 600 percent in the last two years, so he felt I deserved that prize."

So, if given the choice, would an employee rather have a higher salary or the perks?

Prizes and benefits were not initially part of Cosper's job-hunt criteria, she's enjoying the extra benefits and says, at the end of the day, it's not all about the paycheck.

"I don't think that the money outweighs the perks. Given the choice, I would happily keep my salary as-is and keep getting the perks, rather than working in a more boring office that doesn't have those sort of fun additions with a higher salary," she said.

Allied Wallet plans to nearly double its Los Angeles staff in the development, marketing and tech areas within the next six months. The starting salary is around six figures.

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