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By November 29, 2018No Comments

A newly published American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) survey has found that one-third of workers plan to switch jobs in 2019. That same online survey conducted by The Harris Poll says that most workers prefer a robust benefits package to higher salaries. It was also discovered that many workers overvalue their benefits and under utilize them.

“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, CPA, 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.”

When asked which three workplace benefits would help them reach their financial goals, more than half of Americans cited 401(k) match (56 percent) or health insurance (56 percent), while around a third cited paid time off (33 percent) or a pension (31 percent). Additionally, about 1 in 5 (21 percent) cited flexible working hours, and fifteen percent cited working remotely.

As seen in generational breakdown below, Baby Boomers put a significantly higher priority on health insurance and having a 401(k) match than the younger generations. Notably, of all benefits listed, the desire to have a pension saw the largest discrepancy amongst generations. More than half of Baby Boomers (54 percent) prioritized including it in their top three, compared to only 16 percent of Millennials.

Workplace benefits chart generational breakdown
Millennials, now the largest generation in the workforce, put a higher priority than both GenX and Baby Boomers on benefits that are most commonly associated with work-life balance such as paid time off, flexible work hours, and working remotely. Employers competing for this talent should consider this shifting scope of desired benefits if they want to attract the best employees.

Americans Acknowledge They’re Likely Not Optimizing Their Benefits

Nearly 9 in 10 employed adults (88 percent) are confident they understood all the benefits available to them when they accepted their current job. Similarly, 86 percent are confident they have kept up-to-date with changes to those benefits, and 86 percent are also confident they know where to get information about how to use their benefits. Surprisingly though, only 28 percent are very confident they are using their benefits to their fullest potential.

“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,” added Anton. “Imagine how employees would react if they were not 100 percent 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.”

Survey Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States on behalf of AICPA between April 24 and 26, 2018, among 2,026 adults aged 18 or older, among whom 1,115 identified as employed full-time or part-time. Figures were weighted where necessary to bring them in line with the U.S. population.

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