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Do Employees Desire More Benefits or More Pay?

In today’s hiring market, a generous employee benefits package can make your organization stand out from the rest. In fact, new research conducted by the Harris Poll for the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) indicates that Americans value having a job with benefits more than one with a higher salary. According to the survey, 80 percent of respondents would choose a job with benefits over the same job with 30 percent more salary but no benefits. Above all, employees place the highest priority on health care coverage and retirement plans.

Other desirable benefits listed by survey respondents include flexible work hours, more paid vacation time, the option to work from home, workplace wellness programs, student loan forgiveness and tuition reimbursement. Several of these benefits are low-cost options for employers, but offer tremendous value to employees.

In addition, a recent survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) indicates that 92 percent of employees find benefits important to their overall job satisfaction, with 29 percent citing dissatisfaction with their overall benefits package as a reason to look for a position outside of their current organization over the next 12 months.

As a result, an increasing number of employers are designing benefits packages aimed at recruiting and retaining top talent in 2019. Understanding what is most important to employees will help organizations design benefits plans that are tailored to their needs and the needs of their families. In the long-term, it may also save businesses the high cost of employee turnover.

In addition, employers that use benefits as a strategic tool for recruiting and retaining employees report better overall company performance and above-average effectiveness in those areas compared with organizations that do not. As the economy continues to improve and the job market evolves from an employer- to a candidate-driven market, designing an effective employee benefits plan is second only to compensation planning for organizations to remain competitive.

Finally, survey findings also suggest that although 88 percent of employees are confident they understand the benefits available to them, only 20 percent believe they are using their benefits to the fullest potential. This suggests that employers should provide regular communication about the benefits plans offered, including how employees can take advantage of their full value. Useful tools may include print and online employee newsletters, question and answer sheets, blog posts and new hire packets that highlight plan features.

Overall, employee benefits plans should offer a mix of options to meet the individual and changing needs of your employees, as well as serve your organization and your budget.


Pacific Federal is a subsidiary of Zenith American Solutions.