Sustainability Infrastructure

These are the top benefits employees are looking for in 2023

Employer-covered healthcare is a top priority for workers.

Story at a glance

  • Employees are also looking for employers who offer life insurance, pension and retirement plans and mandatory paid time off.

  • A new Forbes Advisor poll surveyed 1,000 workers and 1,000 business owners to compare how benefits are prioritized.

  • Results show 40 percent of employers think workers leave their role to find a job with better benefits.

Employer-covered health care is the most important benefit to employees in 2023, according to a new poll from Forbes Advisor. 

Offerings of life insurance, pension and retirement plans, mandatory paid time off and mental health assistance rounded out employees’ top preferred benefits, respectively. 

Findings are based on a survey of more than 1,000 employed Americans. One thousand business owners were also polled to better understand how benefit preferences and actual offerings align.

Although many may assume pay is the primary driver for employees seeking new jobs, the survey showed 40 percent of employers believe workers leave their role to find a job with better benefits.

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To keep up with this demand, more than 60 percent of businesses report they’ve changed their benefit offerings within the past year.

Meanwhile, more than half of workers say they’re content with the benefits offered by their current employer, although 1 in 10 say they would take a pay cut to access better benefits.

More than 30 percent of employers said they think employees quit their jobs for higher pay.

Benefit preferences varied by worker age. 

More than 30 percent of those between the ages 18 and 41 are most concerned with having pet insurance as a benefit. Nearly 40 percent of workers aged 42 to 57 are more likely to prioritize mandatory paid time off, while more than 80 percent of those over age 42 are seeking roles that offer health care covered by insurance. 

Findings detailed some disconnect between what employers think workers want and what workers actually seek out. For example, employers tended to undervalue the need for mandatory paid time off and overvalue employee discounts, the report found.

However, responses were more aligned on the most important elements of company culture, with both cohorts listing work-life balance as a top priority.

For remote employees, both workers and their employers recognized the importance of flexible hours and work-provided equipment. 

But for in-office workers, “employees named several quality-of-life perks in their top five, while employers focused on the types of perks that they believe incentivize employees to be in the office instead of working remotely,” the report reads. These employees tended to prioritize perks that provide work-life balance, along with professional development.

Notably, the majority of workers in the poll did not say they preferred a four-day workweek, though interest did increase with age. Less than half of workers also said they wanted to work fully remotely. The option was most popular among workers aged 26 to 57, possibly due to demands of child care or other caretaking responsibilities. 

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