- Employees want generous paid time off more than any other non-insurance benefit, according to the findings of an Unum survey released Dec. 18.
- Rounding out the top five most-desired benefits were flexibility, paid family leave, gym memberships and fitness/healthy lifestyle incentives. Student loan repayment benefits and professional development also cracked the top ten.
- "With today’s unemployment rate hitting a low of 3.6%, benefits matter," said Rob Hecker, vice president of HR Global Total Rewards at Unum, in a statement announcing the findings. "If workers aren’t getting what they want from their employer, they’ll look for better benefits elsewhere."
As Hecker noted, the tight labor market means job candidates and employees have quite a bit of leverage. Employees have long identified PTO as a top benefit and employers have responded with generous policies, hoping to both attract top talent and prevent burnout. Flexibility, too, has appeared on several "most-desired benefits" lists and employers have responded with telework options, compressed workweeks and more.
And although student loan repayment ranked lower in Unum's survey, other studies have revealed a substantial interest from workers. To attract those just entering the workforce, some employers have prioritized financial wellness benefits and even repayment matches — a benefit the IRS approved just last year.
Still, talent pros must deliberately communicate these benefits to candidates to see a return in recruiting. And employers also must ensure workers know what's available and how to use perks; research shows that while employers are boosting benefits, there's a significant use gap.