Number of the day: Retirement benefits

Six in 10 employees say their employers’ retirement benefits are an important reason they remain with their current employer, compared with 41% who said the same in 2010, according to research from Willis Towers Watson. And nearly half said their company’s retirement programs (47%) and healthcare benefits (48%) were important reasons they joined their employers, versus just 25% and 32% in 2010, respectively. For results, the consulting firm surveyed 9,600 U.S. employees from large and midsize private companies across a range of industries from December through January.

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What it means for HR leaders

Amid the Great Resignation, attracting and retaining talent is one of the biggest priorities—and concerns—for HR and company leaders. To help, employers are relying on a number of enticements, from bigger pay to flexible work schedules. But pay raises alone might not be enough motivation as inflation is outpacing salary increases at the majority of organizations. That’s where more robust benefits come into play.

Although employees say pay is 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,” says Monica Martin, senior director, retirement, Willis Towers Watson.

In an analysis of the employee benefit priorities, the survey found the most important benefit that employees want their employers to focus on is retirement (44%) followed by flexible work (39%). Among those who want their employers to focus on retirement, nearly two-thirds (62%) are seeking a guaranteed retirement benefit, more than half (58%) are looking for more generous retirement benefits, and 53% are interested in retiree medical benefits.

“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,” Martin says.

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.