SHRM Survey Highlights The Latest Employee Benefits Trends

Oct 21, 2019
| Michael Altiero

The value of employee benefits for employers and workers alike continues to increase as costs rise and competition grows in the job market.

Benefits help employees feel more secure and often save money, where employers use benefits as a means to attract and retain top talent.

This is why it’s important to keep up with the latest trends and statistics with employee benefits, which the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) helps with their annual Employee Benefits Survey.

SHRM released their 2019 report over the summer and revealed some important employee benefits data, such as the most increased benefits:
  • Healthcare – 20%
  • Wellness – 20%
  • Leave – 15%
  • Employee programs and services – 15%
  • Career development – 14%
  • Flexible working – 14%
  • Investment and retirement – 12%

Let’s dive further into the 2019 Employee Benefits Survey and explore the other statistics that were found.

Drivers for Benefit Trends & Healthcare Stats

The first section in the report takes a closer look at the four major employee benefits trend drivers:
  • Health insurance costs
  • Competition for talent
  • Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017
  • The multi-generational workforce

You can check out the full report to gain more insights into these drivers and what they mean for employers.

Next, the survey dives into healthcare benefits and shows that 70% of employers maintained healthcare benefits at their current levels, while 20% increased and just 3% decreased.

The report also showed the types of health insurance plans offered most frequently by employers:
  • PPO – 85%
  • HDHP linked to an HSA/HRA – 59%
  • HMO – 33%
  • HDHP not linked to an HSA/HRA – 19%
  • POS – 18%
  • EPO – 8%

But this isn’t the only healthcare-related statistic, as the report provided insights into the health savings and spending accounts that are most offered by employers:
  • FSA – 68%
  • HSA – 56%
  • HSA contributions – 39%
  • HRAs – 19%

Retirement, Family-Friendly, and Wellness Benefits

Retirement plans are another sought-after benefit for many employees, which is why 93% of employers offered traditional 401k plans, with 74% proving an employer match of some kind.

Beyond traditional retirement benefits, one type of benefit that is rapidly growing in demand by workers are tuition assistance programs.

56% of employers offer tuition assistance to employees currently pursuing degrees. Student loan repayment is offered by 8% of employers, and while still low, has doubled since last year.

Next, the report highlights family-friendly and wellness benefits, which have been growing in demand and usage in recent years.

67% of employers surveyed didn’t make changes to these types of benefits in the past year.

Meanwhile, 58% said they offer wellness programs to their employees, but the services that make up these programs haven’t changed in the past 5 years.

Last, the survey highlights some of the most popular wellness-related benefits offered by employers today:
  • Standing desks – 60%
  • Health screenings – 31%
  • Fitness activities – 30%
  • Programs focused on particular health conditions – 24%
  • Quiet rooms – 21%

Paid Leave and Flex Work Benefits

Paid leave is becoming a major topic in the United States with numerous states passing legislation to provide employees with more paid time off. 

According to the survey data, 98% of employers provide paid vacation days to their workforce and 95% offer sick leave.

When it comes to paid leave, around 20% of organizations offer paid or unpaid leave in addition to what is required by federal and state laws.

Flexible work arrangements are also growing in demand by workers today who want more control over their work-life balance, with telecommuting being a popular method. 69% of employers offer ad hoc telecommuting to their employees, whole 27% offer full-time telecommuting.

When it comes to flexible scheduling, the SHRM study found that 57% offer flextime during core business hours.

Employee Benefit Trends Change Frequently

One of the reasons why employee benefits administration can be such a challenge for small and medium-sized employers is that new trends emerge all the time.

And while larger employers have employees dedicated to employee benefits, smaller employers often aren’t as lucky. However, this is where exploring HR outsourcing services, such as a professional employer organization (PEO), can be extremely valuable!

Not all PEOs want to take clients away from brokers. Broker-Only PEOs look to partner with brokers to help protect and grow their book of business. Download our latest eBook to learn more about Broker-Only PEOs, how they operate, and what this partnership could mean for you.

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