More pay? Nah. Employees prefer benefits
By a four-to-one margin (80 percent to 20 percent), workers would choose a job with benefits over an identical job that offered 30% more salary with no benefits, according to the American Institute of CPAs, which released the results of its 2018 Employee Benefit Report, a poll this spring of 2,026 U.S. adults (1,115 of whom are employed) about their views on workplace benefits.
“A robust benefits package is often a large chunk of total compensation, but it’s the employees' job to make sure they’re taking advantage of it to improve their financial positions and quality of life,” said Greg Anton, chairman of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. “Beyond the dollar value of having good benefits, employees gain peace of mind knowing that if they can take a vacation without losing a week’s pay or if they need to see a doctor, they won’t be responsible for the entire cost.”
Employed adults estimated that their benefits represented 40% of their total compensation package, according to the study. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, though, states that benefits average 31.7 percent of a compensation package. Still, workers in the report see benefits as a vital part of their professional lives.
“Despite overestimating the value of their benefits as part of their total compensation, it is concerning that Americans are not taking full advantage of them,” Anton said. “Imagine how employees would react if they were not 100% confident they could get to all the money in their paycheck. Leaving benefits underutilized should be treated the same way. Americans need to take time to truly understand their benefits and make sure they’re not leaving any money on the table.”
Other notable findings from the report include:
- 63 percent of employed adults believe that being their own boss is worth more than job security with an employer, while 18 percent added that they will likely start or continue their own businesses next year.
- Millennials were the most likely generation to believe that being their own boss is worth more than job security. They were also the most likely generation to start their own businesses.
- 88 pecent of employed adults are confident they understood all the benefits available to them when they were initially hired at their current job. However, only 28 percent are "very confident" they are currently maximizing all of their benefits.
- When asked which workplace benefits would help them best reach their financial goals, 56 percent of adults said a 401(k) match or health insurance, with 33 percent citing paid time off and 31 percent citing a pension.
- Baby boomers favor health insurance and having a 401(k) match more than younger generations, while 54 percent of baby boomers also prioritized a pension, versus only 16 percent of millennials.
- Millennials put the highest priority on work-life balance benefits, such as paid time off, flexible work hours and remote work.