How employers can use benefits to entice top talent to their doors

As the job market continues to climb, candidates are able to get picky again, and, as always, benefits packages and perks are a top consideration when deciding between multiple offers.

Interestingly, a recent Glassdoor survey found that employees are even starting to value certain benefits over a pay bump. According to their 2015 Employment Confidence Survey, 79 percent of employees prefer new or additional benefits to a pay increase. And this preference is more common amongst the millennials (who now comprise the majority of the workforce, by the way) — 89 percent of employees ages 18-34 prefer additional benefits to a pay increase, more than any other age group surveyed.

Which benefits matter most?

We know that benefits matter, but which ones matter the most? According to the same study, the top 5 benefits that employees say are more valuable to them than pay increases are:

    1. Healthcare benefits (e.g., medical, dental): 40%
    2. Vacation/paid time off: 37%
    3. Performance bonus: 35%
    4. Paid sick days: 32%
    5. 401(k) plan, retirement plan and/or pension: 31%

These trends appear to be on target with the evolution of the workforce. Now more than ever, workers are looking for careers that offer work/life balance—health, flexibility, and time off all play a factor.

As we’ve been hearing for the last few years, time is the new money, and that growing preference is reflected here with the need for down time (vacation, PTO, sick days) coming in second on the list. And as for the performance bonuses — millennials tend to seek job opportunities where they can make a difference. It’s not just the extra money that is valued, but also the sense of recognized contribution to a meaningful goal.

Coming in at the top of the list for employees (and what we focus on day and night here at Castlight Health) is healthcare benefits. With healthcare becoming less affordable in 70 percent of cities in the U.S., it is not surprising that employees are looking for robust benefits that will help them make better health decisions and ultimately keep their healthcare costs down. Staying healthy, and assurance that they will be able to afford care if they need it, is a critical priority.

The big takeaway here?

To entice top-talent in today’s job market, you need to be able to offer employees the benefits experience they want. That requires first understanding which benefits your employees value most, and then focusing investments in programs that employees can actually use. And in the health benefits realm, that boils down to making healthcare (which is complex) easier to navigate for your employees —making it  simple and convenient  for employees to get the most out of their health benefits.