As the job market tightens and competition for workers becomes fiercer, a majority of employers are boosting their employee benefits offerings and are paying less attention to reducing associated costs, according to a new study.
The changes reflect the shifting priorities of the workforce and the newest generation to enter the job market. The challenge for employers is controlling benefit costs, while at the same time being able to attract and retain talent as competition for workers increases.
The “2018 Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey” by Gallagher Benefits found that U.S. employers were most concerned with:
- Attracting and retaining talent. This was the number one operational priority for 60% of employers.
- Controlling benefit costs. This was the top priority for another 37%.
The study authors said they are noticing a “clear shift in the market” because employers are having to compete so fiercely for workers and because the workforce comprises five generations, all of which have very different priorities and needs. Besides beefing up their health insurance offerings, they are also boosting other employee benefits.
Employers are also adopting new strategies to help their employees get the health care services they need. The survey found that:
- 45% of employers have increased employee cost-sharing of health care benefits.
- 55% of employers provide telemedicine services that allow employees to speak remotely with medical professionals.
- More employers are focused on helping their employees reduce their medical expenses with wellness programs and prevention services. The most popular offerings include:
- Flu shots
- Tobacco cessation programs
- Health risk assessments
- Biometric screenings
- Financial wellness programs are gaining popularity, with 62% of employers providing access to financial advisors.
- 89% of employers offer employees life insurance.
- 70% of employers provide access to employee assistance programs.
- 47% of employers offer financial-literacy education to help employees better manage their money.
- 22% of employers offer employees three medical insurance plans to choose from (another 13% offer four or more).
- 46% of employers offer tuition reimbursement.