ARTICLE | January 25, 2024
Authored by RSM US LLP
Health care, retirement contributions and flexible work schedules remain the leading benefits cited by employees at middle market companies in the United States compared to a year earlier, a recent poll commissioned by RSM found.
However, the number of individuals expecting these benefits and others fell across the board—significantly, in some areas—a sign that a strong job market where workers have the upper hand is moderating.
At the same time, 80% of respondents surveyed say they are now required to work on-site at their jobs at least some of the time, with more than half (56%) expected to show up five days a week. And while policies to institutionalize remote work options may be more established, the data suggests that pandemic-driven accommodation around remote work is lessening.
The responses were provided by 806 U.S. employees at middle market companies, defined as those with 201 to 7,000 workers. They were gleaned from a broader survey conducted Nov. 16-26, 2023, by the research firm Big Village on behalf of RSM; the firm polled a random sample of 1,613 adults working in the United States in at least one job.
Responses from workers at midsize companies indicating their organizations offered health care and retirement contributions in 2023 were on par with responses a year earlier. Flexibility appears to be on the rise, with 44% of respondents citing their ability to work flexible hours or schedules, compared to 37% the previous year. Health care, retirement contributions and flexible schedules remain among workers’ top choices in terms of importance.
Middle market employers pulled back significantly on some benefits, including wellness or fitness options, offered to 22% of workers from 27% a year earlier; opportunities to provide input on how work is performed, down to 20% from 28%; incentive compensation, which fell to 19% from 24%; equity ownership, offered to 8% from a prior 12%; and formalized mentoring, which declined by half to 7%.
“As employers make those decisions on competing demands, understanding which benefits their employees prioritize should help them strengthen the return on those investments in their workforces.”
Anne Bushman, Partner, RSM Washington National Tax
Why the decline? Well, employers may be preserving cash, given increased interest rates and other demands for their money, says Anne Bushman, an RSM partner and leader of the firm’s Washington National Tax compensation and benefits group.
“As employers make those decisions on competing demands, understanding which benefits their employees prioritize should help them strengthen the return on those investments in their workforces,” Bushman says.
Meanwhile, more than three-fourths of middle market employees polled said they received pay raises in the current fiscal or calendar year, with 38% receiving a bump of 5% or more. They expect similar increases in the coming compensation cycle: 15% expect no raise; 17% anticipate an increase of 1% to 2%; 19% foresee 3% to 4% more; 14% expect 5% to 6%; and 24% foresee getting 7% or higher.
This article was written by Anne Bushman and originally appeared on 2024-01-25.
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