What employees want most from their employers is more time off, according to the 2015 MassMutual Generations@Work Study. That, and better 401(k) matches.
In its research, MassMutual took a look at the different generations and genders and how they responded to different benefits questions.
“There were definitely some differences in the ways you cut the data and patterns you saw across gender lines as well as generational lines,” says Heather Smiley, chief marketing officer for MassMutual Retirement Services and Worksite Insurance. “One of the most interesting things I saw from a generational perspective was that you might think that boomers are the ones most tied into retirement benefits and really wanted more from their employers there but it was really Gen Xers who put it on their list.”
Smiley said that this finding could be because for Generation X, “age 50 is staring you in the face and you always thought you’d be better prepared by that time.”
Generation X is considered the sandwich generation, taking care of their boomer parents and children at the same time.
“We are all the sandwich generation. We just get there at different times of life,” Smiley says.
Zero healthcare premiums, expanded healthcare benefits and a flexible work schedule were also in demand, the study found.
Also see: “Long live work-life balance.”
The genders definitely looked at workplace benefits differently, with men listing a better 401(k) match as their top priority, followed by no healthcare premiums and more financial investment choices and women listing a flexible work schedule, free gym membership and education/tuition reimbursement as top priorities. Women preferred more lifestyle benefits while men preferred financial benefits.
“The real question coming out of this was what is an employer to do?” says Smiley. “As healthcare costs become a bigger and bigger part of the pie for employers and employees, they need guidance on how to make the most of the benefits plan they have and, also, giving lots of options doesn’t necessarily mean the employer has to contribute to a benefit.”
Forty-eight percent of millennials wanted more vacation time and 43% wanted a flexible work schedule. Only 35% listed better 401(k) matches. Forty-seven percent of Generation X wanted better 401(k) matches, followed by more vacation time and a flexible work schedule. Fifty percent of baby boomers wanted more vacation time, followed closely by better 401(k) matches and expanded healthcare.
Also see: “Use of dollar-for-dollar 401(k) matching grows.”
The survey also attempted to determine how much each individual knew about things like their retirement plan or checking and savings account balances versus their benefits package.
Ninety-two percent of respondents said they knew more about their checking and savings accounts than they did about their benefits package details; 69% knew more about their credit card balances and APR; 61% knew more about their credit score; and 55% knew more about their retirement savings plan balance.
Paula Aven Gladych is a freelance writer based in Denver.
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