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Benefits: The Other Kind of Compensation

Your employees may not regularly think about compensation aside from salary, but good benefits can truly impact their lives. Paid-time-off may give someone a chance to travel and see the world. Flex hours might allow another person to spend an afternoon volunteering in their child’s classroom. Health insurance can save a life.

It’s no surprise, then, that our survey of 1,000+ full-time workers in the U.S. found that benefits really do make up a large part of the employee value proposition. Almost 49 percent of respondents said the benefits their companies offer – things like health insurance, child care or flex time – are why they stay at their jobs.

What are the most important benefits for employees?

Of course, the answer to this question varies across demographics and individuals. A 35-year-old parent of two will have different priorities when it comes to their benefits package than a 22-year-old recent college graduate. That said, certain benefits rise to the top of numerous surveys about what employees want from their benefits package. Here’s a look at some of the top benefits employees look for when they’re deciding on a new job.

Health, dental and vision insurance

In 2016, the content marketing agency Fractl gave 2,000 people a list of 17 benefits and asked them how heavily they would weigh each when deciding between a high-paying job and a lower-paying job with more benefits. Better health, dental and vision insurance topped the list with 88 percent  of respondents saying they would give this benefit “some consideration” (34 percent) or “heavy consideration” (54 percent).

This should come as no surprise considering the cost of healthcare. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Most employees want larger provider networks, consumer-driven plans to lower their out-of-pocket expenses and more robust coverage.


According to a 2017 Gallup poll, 53 percent of employees indicated greater work-life balance and personal well-being are “very important” to them when considering whether to take a new job. To truly enjoy their jobs, employees need to feel that their employers will provide what they need to be successful in both their personal and professional lives.

That may take the form of flexible schedules, more vacation time and work-from-home options. Providing flexibility often costs an organization very little but can pay dividends for both employees and employers. Flexible work schedules that allow employees to shift their hours or work from home to accommodate the demands of their personal lives have been shown to reduce workplace stress, boost mental well-being and encourage productivity.

Retirement plan

Companies that are trying to watch their bottom lines may see offering retirement benefits as cost-prohibitive or unnecessary. But offering retirement benefits can be particularly useful for small companies struggling to compete against larger companies to attract and retain talent.

Aflac’s 2016 Workforces Report surveyed 5,000 employees across the U.S. in various business sizes and industries and found that 75% of employees expect their employer to offer a 401(k) or other retirement program.

Education assistance

With the skyrocketing cost of college, it’s no surprise that student loans and tuition assistance are high on the list of desired employee benefits. In 2018, Gartner surveyed over 6,000 employees around the globe. They found 61 percent of employees see education benefits as an important factor in deciding on a job offer.

This may take the form of student loan reimbursement or tuition assistance. Both can help employees save thousands of dollars in loan payments. Keep in mind these benefits aren’t just for Millennials. Older employees may still be paying off student loans they took out decades ago. Others are going into debt to pay for their children’s education.

Employee benefits are one tool to make your team feel valued and remain loyal. Finding the right mix to create a positive return on investment may be a challenge. But to recruit and retain a competitive workforce, consider the types of benefits people truly value. Then look for cost-effective ways to offer those most important to your employees.

To see a breakdown of current salary figures, check out our 2020 Salary Guide.


Accounting Principals

We're Accounting Principals--a leader in finance and accounting staffing. In fact, since 2010, we've been part of Adecco Group, a Global 500 company and leader in staffing services around the world. But this isn't staffing as usual. We take quite a different approach than most staffing agencies. A people-focused approach. We believe in forming real relationships with both our clients and our candidates. We want to understand the needs on both sides.