More than half (56%) of workers surveyed cited pay and bonus as among the top factors that would be most important to them when considering whether to jump to a new employer, followed by health benefits (39%), job security (33%), flexible work arrangements (31%) and retirement benefits (29%), according to a report from global advisory firm Willis Towers Watson (WTW). Pay and bonus was also the top factor cited by workers as among the most important reasons to stay with their current employer, followed by job security, health benefits, flexible work arrangements and work that provides a "sense of purpose."
A rising percentage — nearly half — of employees surveyed said their company’s retirement (47%) and healthcare plans (48%) were an important reason they decided to work for their current employers, compared with less than a third (29%) that cited the plans in 2015, according to the report.
Well over half of the employees (60%) cited their employers’ retirement and healthcare benefits as an important reason for sticking with their current company, up from 48% who cited retirement in 2019 and just 54% who cited healthcare, in both cases marking a more than decade high in the benefits’ role in retaining workers.
Attracting and retaining employees are key issues for many CFOs who are facing the tightest labor market in decades while also fighting rising costs on other fronts as inflation has soared to a four-decade high. Many finance chiefs are aiming to hold on to employees this year by giving them raises above 3% but that may not be enough as inflation outpaces pay gains, experts say.
While employees still see pay as the most “compelling reason to stay or leave a company, health and retirement benefits have become a much more significant factor in their decision-making process,” Monica Martin, senior director, retirement, at WTW, said in a statement. “In this tight labor market, organizations that understand the importance that employees place on these core benefits and that provide highly valued benefit programs can differentiate themselves in their effort to become an employer of choice.”
Some of the top retirement options cited by respondents as offerings that would be most helpful to employees included: a guaranteed retirement benefit (cited by 62%), more generous retirement benefits generally (58%), retiree medical benefits (53%) and flexibility to use retirement monies for short-term needs (37%).
Of the top options that would most improve flexible work arrangements respondents cited more generous paid time off and sick leave (50%), the option to work from home/anywhere (47%), the option to select when work occurs (45%) and policies that respect personal time outside of work (35%).
Respondents asked which health-related benefits would most help them cited a generally more generous healthcare plan (46%), health screenings and risk assessments (42%) and a more generous dental plan (37%). And nearly half of employees (46%) said they would give up higher pay for a more generous healthcare plan versus 36% in 2020.
The 2022 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey queried 9,600 U.S. employees from large and midsize private companies across a range of industries from December through January.