Since the financial crisis of 2008, America’s economy has continued to struggle. Unemployment rates are still high, and pay rates have been cut. In addition, retirement and health plans seem to have less generous offerings. Unfortunately, they are not as secure or predictable as they once were. Many employees are worried about their long-term retirement options. They are waiting to see if further reductions will be made in their benefits, which would result in higher upfront expenses.
Although the economic downturn brought mostly negative changes, one positive change that took place was the sharper focus on health spending and retirement security. With higher health costs and financial losses, more workers value security and want to pay for guaranteed benefits. A 2011 survey was performed to evaluate workers’ attitudes toward their employers’ benefits, their individual household finances and their retirement issues. This extensive survey also examined the impact of health and retirement benefits on retaining and recruiting employees.
Of all the findings in this survey, one that should be especially important to employers is the percentage of employees who said they were willing to pay more for good benefits and security. The survey showed that more than half of the respondents said they would be willing to trade some form of pay for better benefits. Most of the respondents in this percentage were older employees or younger males. Healthy workers and high earners also comprised a notable portion of that number. It is likely that the concerned older workers are still feeling the negative effects of their home values and individual retirement account balances deteriorating.
In comparison with data from prior years, the percentage of employees willing to pay more for good benefits is a substantial change. In 2009, only 46% were willing to pay more. As people gain experience with financial market volatility, their worries about the economy’s future continue growing. This prompts the rise in interest for solid benefits. Employees have learned from the financial crisis, and they know that future benefit cutbacks are possible.
The number of employees who would be willing sacrifice more take-home pay for solid benefits is expected to rise. Many are willing to sacrifice bonuses and other incentives to enjoy more predictable health costs and better retirement benefits. A significant amount of workers are also willing to give up paid time off for these positive changes. These issues are all important considerations for employers. Offering good benefits is a great way to attract and retain quality employees. To learn more about benefit changes, discuss the options with an agent.