Economy-watchers lament the so-called Great Resignation, the current trend of accelerated workforce retirements and drop-outs. Whatever its roots, a recent survey indicates how employers might buck the trend—with competitive retirement and other benefits for employees.
Something unusual happened last year. The resignation rate per month in the U.S.—which rarely climbs much above 2%—began riding closer to 3% or more in parts of the country. Experts blame the pandemic, but whatever the cause the “Great Resignation” is very real.
Now, a recent survey reiterates the power of a decent retirement package, something that—despite its diminishment in recent years—federal employees already have.
A leading professional association for retirement finance professionals—the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries (ASPPA)—buttressed this central lesson of the survey: “It’s critical for employers to take stock of their benefits packages and how they communicate them to employees,” the group summarized.
The details of the survey—though focused on the private-sector’s most common pension plans such as the 401(k)—could offer lessons to federal managers and especially recruiters, starting with the need to emphasize and preserve our community’s most valuable long-term benefits, the FERS, the Thrift Savings Plan and other federal retirement and health options.
The survey—sponsored by Betterment, a for-profit individual retirement advisory company—offers added insights government could use to nab some of the talent bleeding from private employers. The poll numbers might also serve as a warning that weakening feds’ packages further—for example, additional hikes to the employee share of funding retirement accounts as well as spikes in federal health insurance premiums—could accelerate the federal community’s already-elevated retirement rates.
The Betterment data shows that, these days, employees across the economy are less interested in more vacation time and more drawn to solid financial benefits—most of all a strong retirement followed by other financial perks, like “help with retirement planning and student loan debt.”
To cite some precise numbers, fully 28% of employees surveyed said they were looking for a new job. More than three-quarters—78%—report that “it’s important that their employer offer financial wellness benefits.”
Perhaps no surprise there. But here’s the new dynamic: 71% of the total said that financial benefits are more important to them now than they were at the outset of the pandemic. Employers need to take note.
The survey—the details of which can be consulted here—polled 1,000 full-time U.S. employees, and was conducted in September of last year. It was designed to “better understand their current financial situations, how they prioritize various types of benefits, and what impact these benefits may have on employee recruitment and retention,” according to the release.
“The last couple of years have been financially challenging for workers and business owners alike,” Kristen Carlisle, General Manager of Betterment’s 401(k) business, stated. “Faced with new realities and shifting work environments, it’s time that employers rethink traditional perks and consider what might provide greater value to their employees.
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