Number of the day: Retirement support

Retirement optimism is on the decline—and employees are looking for more help from their employer. So says a new survey of over 1,000 people (803 employees and 203 employers) by HR and benefits services firm Paychex, which, among other discoveries, finds that eight in 10 workers say their employer should do more to assist them with retirement.

What it means for HR leaders

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The Paychex data further demonstrates that employees aren’t feeling confident about their retirement: Soaring inflation and market volatility are taking a toll on both optimism and on employee contribution levels.

In short, this leaves an opening for employers to help—something workers increasingly want.

The Paychex data indicates that “employers could re-evaluate their benefits packages overall, focusing on aligning them with what employees need,” says Michael Majors, vice president of HR solutions sales at Paychex.

Some of the help employers could provide?

Retirement matching at a higher percentage would likely be a great start, Majors says. (The Paychex survey also finds that 73% of workers believe they should be saving more for retirement but 79% can’t afford to increase their contributions.)

But even without making monumental changes to benefits packages or increasing contributions, employers could provide more support in terms of retirement education for their employees, he says. “This would allow employees to make smarter, more informed decisions at a lower cost to the employer while also showing that business leaders are invested in their teams,” he says.

For employers, there’s a strong business case for doing more for employees’ retirement: recruitment and retention. The Paychex survey finds that 64% of workers would decline a job offer that doesn’t provide retirement benefits, for instance.

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“With the job market as it stands, people are looking to work for companies where they feel supported all around, not only in salary. Enhancing a retirement benefit can actually be a lower-cost way to retain employees than just offering wage increases because it shows the employee you are vested in their long-term success,” Major says. “Creating a benefits package more reflective of employees’ actual needs would help business leaders retain their teams and hire new talent.”

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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.