In today’s economy, employers are in an ongoing fight with one another to lure the top candidates available. Those seeking employment acknowledge the leverage that they now have and seek to capitalize on it by obtaining the highest overall compensation possible.  In response, major companies are getting creative with benefit offerings to keep pace with their competitors.

Individuals currently seeking jobs are placing greater importance on potential employers’ benefits offerings than they have in the past. In a study conducted by Voya, 68 percent of individuals seeking employment responded that benefits would play a critical role in their ultimate job selection. Additionally, 61 percent stated that benefits provided by employers play a critical role in household financial decisions. The balance of negotiating power is currently weighing in favor of top candidates, according to Becky Frankiewicz, President of ManpowerGroup North America. “Skilled workers are in control and companies need to understand people’s priorities to compete,” Frankiewicz stated.

Among currently employed Americans, more individuals are voluntarily changing jobs than ever. Data from the Bureau of Labor shows that the “quit rate” for professionals in the business services industry is now up to 4.1 percent, compared to only 3 percent in February 2020. This data supports the notion that employees are willing to make a career change to obtain higher compensation, better employee benefits, or both. In the previously mentioned study conducted by Voya, 81 percent of currently employed individuals are interested in employer support that would improve their overall financial wellness, and 75 percent want help navigating unexpected life events such as accidents or serious illnesses.

To stay relevant, employers have responded by expanding the benefits offered to employees.  According to Forbes, employers such as Amazon, Macy’s and Chipotle have started offering to pay for their workers’ college education and student loans. In 2019, about 8 percent of employers offered student loan repayment assistance as a benefit. Today, that number is up to 17 percent. The unprecedented benefit offerings do not end there, however, as some companies have even offered things such as pet health insurance and unlimited PTO.

In this candidates’ market, organizations looking to remain successful will continue to evolve and expand the benefits offered to employees. Employers that are struggling to hire top candidates will need to re-evaluate their current benefits package. Otherwise, they’re at risk of being passed up by their industry competitors.

At Qualified Plan Advisors, we focus on how people save, invest, and manage their money. We get to help business owners to feel safer and to focus on their employees; HR and benefits professionals to enjoy their jobs more; and hundreds to thousands of employees to live happier, less stressful lives. Want to learn more? Let’s talk.


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