Worker Opinions About Employee Benefits: Differences Among Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Generation X Have Implications for Plan Sponsors

24 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2015

See all articles by Paul Fronstin

Paul Fronstin

Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)

Ruth Helman

Greenwald & Associates

Date Written: December 2015

Abstract

This paper presents new findings from the 2015 EBRI/Greenwald & Associates Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey (WBS). It examines differences in opinions regarding employee benefits among Millennials (or Generation Y, the demographic cohort with birth years ranging from the early 1980s to early 2000s), the Baby-Boom generation (individuals born between 1946-1965), and Generation X members (those born between 1966-1976). Compared with prior generations, Millennials are more likely to be detached from traditional institutions. Millennials are less likely than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers to report health insurance as the most important benefit they receive at work. Millennials are more likely than Baby Boomers or Gen Xers to report that they value life insurance and paid time off as the most important benefit. Millennials are less likely than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers to report that the benefits a potential employer offers are extremely important in their decision to accept or reject a job. Millennials are also more likely than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers to be open to non-traditional ways of obtaining benefits. Millennials are more likely than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers to report that they prefer to take the money spent on employee benefits other than health insurance and they are more likely than Baby Boomers to be open to taking the money spent on health insurance and decide for themselves whether to purchase those benefits and how much to purchase. Millennials are more likely than other workers to respond that they do not know about their benefits. Participation in various employee benefit programs is generally lower among Millennials than among Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. Millennials are the largest age group to emerge since the Baby-Boom generation, and employers will have to make adjustments to how they engage them. Employers that have depended on employee benefits as a primary tool to recruit and retain workers may need to rethink the role that employee benefits play with Millennials.

Note: The PDF for the above title, published in the December 2015 issue of EBRI Notes, also contains the full text of another December 2015 EBRI Notes article abstracted on SSRN: “The Effect of the Current Population Survey Redesign on Retirement-Plan Participation Estimates.”

Keywords: Demographics, Employee benefit attitudes and opinions, Employee benefit costs, Employee benefit participation rates, Employment-based benefits, Voluntary benefits

JEL Classification: J32, J33

Suggested Citation

Fronstin, Paul and Helman, Ruth, Worker Opinions About Employee Benefits: Differences Among Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Generation X Have Implications for Plan Sponsors (December 2015). EBRI Notes, Vol. 36, No. 12 (December 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2706706

Paul Fronstin (Contact Author)

Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) ( email )

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Ruth Helman

Greenwald & Associates ( email )

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United States
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202-696-2512 (Fax)

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