Employees & Short-Term Value

In today’s world of instant gratification, it’s no wonder that workers value short-term benefits the most. According to a worldwide study of more than 10,000 workers conducted by Mercer, a salary increase was preferred over all types of benefits.

While saving for retirement may seem to some like saving for a stranger, U.S. workers did rank DC plans and DC matches as the second and third most popular benefit — topped only by health care. In all, 74% of American workers were concerned about retirement. This is not surprising given the fact that 72% defer less than 10%. Levels of concerned varied widely depending on gender, age, ethnicity and industry.

The trend setters in the DC market are generally larger companies, but smaller employers create more jobs. Most small business owners are more concerned about the uncertain economy and taxes than about providing benefits to employees.

While DC plans are important, other than fiduciary liability and some administrative work — much of which can be outsourced — they cost the employer virtually nothing compared with the cost of providing health benefits. That’s important too.

With concern about retirement high among workers — most of whom are not on track to replace healthy percentages of income in retirement — the Mercer research shows that employers can attract better workers by not only making DC plans available at minimal or no cost and with limited effort and liability, but also by providing some sort of financial incentive, like a match that appeals to workers’ growing need for instant gratification — but also to their longer-term concerns about their retirement years.

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