Employees Willing to Pay for Better Benefits: WTW

Apr 26, 2022

Employees say retirement programs and health care benefits are key factors in their decision to stick with their employer.

Economic activity has been unpredictable since the beginning of the pandemic. The stops and starts of mandates, along with high inflation and a tight labor market have upended many conventional ways of doing things. It seems that within that labor market employees are more willing to pay for better benefits and the importance of benefits offered by employers to attract workers is gaining steam, according to a new report from Willis Towers Watson (WTW).

According to the survey, six in 10 employees (60%) cited their employers’ retirement benefits as an important reason they remain with their current employer, compared with 41% in 2010. Nearly half said their company’s retirement programs (47%) and health care benefits (48%) were important reasons why they joined their employers, versus just 25% and 32% in 2010, respectively.

“While employees still look at 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,” said Monica Martin, senior director of retirement for WTW.

Employees Leaving Data

Not only are employers looking at benefits as a way to attract employees, but employees are now more willing to have additional money deducted from their paychecks for better benefits. Nearly six in 10 employees (59%) say they would pay more for a larger, more generous retirement benefit, up from 54% in 2020. Nearly half of employees (46%) would forgo more pay for a more generous health care plan versus 36% in 2020. The number of workers willing to pay more for both benefits had dropped from 2019 to 2020.

Retirement is always an important benefit coveted by employees, as is flexible work. Of the people wanting a focus on retirement, 62% are looking for some kind of guaranteed retirement benefit. Managing employee health also emerged as an important issue among a third of respondents (33%). Of those, half (46%) want a more generous healthcare plan, 42% said health screenings and risk assessments would help them manage their health, and 37% prefer a more generous dental plan.

“Employees are increasingly turning to their employer for more help and support with their benefits. In turn, employers that want to remain competitive are best served by regularly re-evaluating their health and retirement benefit packages both in terms of value and flexibility in order to meet the evolving needs of their diverse workforces,” said Julie Stone, managing director of health and benefits for WTW.

By Joel Kranc