Survey reveals young workers keen on retirement programs

by: Nichole Gunn April 9, 2012

Younger employees may be more interested in working for a company that is looking out for their retirement prospects, a new survey from Towers Watson suggests.

According to the survey from the global professional services company, the percentage of younger American workers who say that an employer-sponsored program for retirement is important for either joining or remaining with that employer has risen significantly over the past two years.

In 2009, 28 percent of younger workers, age 40 and younger, whose employer offered a defined benefit pension plan identified it as an important factor in accepting that job. In 2011, that figure more than doubled to 63 percent and was especially prevalent for employers that still offer a pension plan. In addition, younger employees at companies that offer only a defined contribution plan went from 19 percent in 2009 to 28 percent in 2011.

“Two factors are likely causing this change: The combination of a slow economic recovery and more older employees delaying retirement is making it increasingly difficult for younger employees to find jobs or advance in their careers,” said David Speier, a senior retirement consultant at Towers Watson. “As a result, young workers are clearly giving much more weight toward both employer retirement and health care benefits when making career and employment decisions.”

Employee incentive programs can come in many shapes and forms with retirement programs being one popular way to not only foster worker morale and productivity, but also to reduce turnover rates and increase retention rates for new and incoming employees.

“In good and bad economic times, building and keeping a talented workforce can often mean the difference between success and failure," said Laurie Bienstock, North America practice leader at Rewards at Towers Watson. "Employers with open DB plans appear to have a leg up on their competitors in keeping employees. Understanding worker preferences toward their reward programs is critical for employers that are looking to attract and retain the critical skill employees needed to drive business success.”

Employee incentive programs can also stem from corporate health and wellness initiatives. These programs work to reduce a company's overall healthcare costs while urging employees to quit smoking and lose weight in some instances. Participating employees who are successful with their endeavors can rake in numerous incentives and benefits depending on the program.


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