Future of workplace benefits

Article 2 of 4 summarized from “The 2020s: A decade of workplace challenges and opportunities" research paper produced by Voya Financial

To effectively plan for the decade, Voya Financial set out to understand factors impacting the ability to achieve financial wellness and retirement readiness. We sought out thought leaders on retirement and workplace issues to provide their predictions and expectations for how the decade of the 2020s would unfold in a variety of areas pertaining to the workforce.

We’ve created a series of four blog posts outlining our key findings and learnings:

Read on for the second installment: Future of workplace benefits

The decade of the 2020s will clearly pose major challenges to those seeking to help American workers achieve financial security throughout retirement. But challenges may be balanced with advances in technology and other innovations that will yield positive results.

In the words of thought leaders:

“Workplace benefit providers using digital tools to appear more human and more authentic while disseminating information (human more digital; digital more human). The focus will be on building trust and connection”

Advances in technology can be double-edged swords; helpful to driving retirement plan success, while also having consequences. Nearly half (47%) of the thought leaders believe it is at least somewhat likely that advances in technology will lead to more unemployment by the end of this decade. Also, more than half (56%) predict birth rates to be at least somewhat lower by 2030. While this does not pose an immediate economic threat, sustained lower birth rates at less than the replacement rate may be the drag on economic growth.

The emergence of the gig economy

The predicted continued rise of the gig economy will compound the complexity —leading to reduced financial security, fewer employee benefits and less job security. Almost four in five thought leaders think that the proportion of full-time workers who have alternative work arrangements, such as contract work and temporary work, will go up. One in five predict that at least 40% of all full-time workers will be gig workers. This group may currently be underserved —and undersaved—though this may change. While panelists expect this group to grow, more than half (53%) believe workers who work solely in the gig economy will have access to retirement plans through the companies at which they work.

Another thought leader highlighted income disparity:

“Demographic shifts countered by gerrymandering. The government will become less and less representative of the population it represents due to this and income disparities amongst groups.”

One corporate thought leader predicted the impact of COVID-19:

“Coronavirus/COVID-19 will have an unprecedented impact on the U.S. and Global economies and consumer behavior unlike anything we have seen since 9/11 or the 2008 financial crisis. I predict low interest rates for a long time as well as lower risk premiums than we have seen over the past decade”

Overall, panelists predict a wide range of social, political and economic challenges in the coming decade.


More than half of the panelists think the proportion of workplace benefits funded by the employee will be higher by 2030.

Most thought leaders also expect employers to play a more active role in helping employees achieve financial security. Of all the trends commented on in this study, panelists were most apt to believe that financial wellness programs will be very likely to expand this decade, with 7 in 10 (71%) believing that this will be at least very likely to happen.

To dive deeper into The 2020s: A decade of workplace challenges and opportunities:


Source: The 2020s: A decade of workplace challenges and opportunities – Views from though leaders. Produced by Voya Research and Insights and Greenwald Research, March, 2021

For plan sponsor/TPA, Institutional use only. Not for public distribution.

Research material is provided for general and educational purposes only.

Products and services offered through the Voya® family of companies.

Mathew Greenwald and Associates is not affiliated with the Voya® family of companies.