A recent survey released by GfK Public Affairs, a public opinion research company for Fidelity Investments, revealed that a large portion of employees would rather have a bigger 401(k) match than a higher salary. In fact, many of the respondents stated that they would have no use for a salary as high as $100,000, if it wasn’t matched by an according 401(k) retirement package contribution. This revelation led us to create a list of the top 5 job benefits more important than a higher salary. Here are the top 5 job benefits in the U.S. right now:
- 401(k) match
Over 1,000 employees were polled in the aforementioned survey. All of the participants were 25 years old or older. 43 percent of the participants chose a 401(k) match over a higher salary. For the 43 percent of respondents who chose this perk, a 401(k) even trumped larger paychecks. Interestingly enough, many employers don’t seem to match their attitude. Some companies increase the match cap over time. According to official data, other companies maintain the same 401(k) match level for years. Presumably, this is done to the increasing displeasure of staff members. Perhaps even more alarming, experts now say that as enrollment into 401(k) plans becomes compulsory, the match ratio will also decrease.
- Vacation Time
A 2014 Forbes survey revealed that most employees would feel delighted to have more than two weeks of paid vacation. These employees can expect good news on this front. Increasing numbers of tech and IT companies are opting for unconventional business models and providing their employees with unlimited holiday time. Netflix and Hubspot are among two of the companies to do so; meanwhile, other companies in the same field (such as Moz) have incentivized their staff to take all the paid vacation days they’re allowed in one year.
- Maternity Leave
Paid maternity and paternity leave recently rose to prominence among preferred salary benefits. Perhaps more companies should follow the lead of the American Gonzo Food Corporation. The corporation’s founder and CEO grants all its managers an extra week of paid vacation when they have a child. This also applies for people who choose to adopt. American Gonzo keeps this benefit separate from disability pay and FMLAs.
- Health Care Coverage
Not surprisingly, good health and medical care are still among the top preferences for employee benefits in 2014. The good news is that 86 percent of employers in the private sector already offer access to health insurance to their staff. As health care grows in importance, more and more companies set up gyms, spas, or wellness centers on their premises. They also frequently treat their staff to paid medical subscriptions.
- Tuition Reimbursement
Since the level of college debt in the United States won’t drop any time soon, offering a special tuition reimbursement program makes perfect sense and stands among the top preferred benefits for employees. Perhaps the biggest advantage is for staff members in the military, who can become eligible for a wide range of tuition reimbursement programs. Some employers also offer these programs to surviving family members of military personnel fallen in combat.
It’s important to note that 13 percent of the people polled said they’d take a $100,000 yearly salary instead of any other of the aforementioned benefits. A reasonable income is still important in today’s economy. Agreeing to be underpaid in order to have access to job perks seems wholly counterintuitive. What’s the point in saving up for a cozy retirement if life is unaffordable (and altogether unlivable) up until that point?