Although a majority (83 per cent) of U.S. employers say their employees are satisfied with their current benefits offerings, fewer than two-thirds (61 per cent) of workers agree, according to a new survey by MetLife Inc.

The survey, which polled more than 2,800 employers and more than 2,800 full-time employees, found the No. 1 reason employers invested in benefits is to demonstrate care. Among employee respondents, nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) said an affordable benefits plan is an important demonstration of employee care and 58 per cent said they’re satisfied with the current affordability of their benefits.

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When asked which benefits offerings best demonstrate employee care, employers cited home insurance, pet insurance, access to subsidized care options, cancer insurance and commuting benefits. However, nearly two-thirds (60 per cent) of employees said they’re interested in a wider array of non-medical benefits, while another 61 per cent said they’re interested in benefits not currently offered by their employer. As well, nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) expressed interest in a four-day workweek.

Overall, employers ranked pay/compensation (46 per cent) as the most important element in demonstrating care, followed by flexibility and work-life balance (19 per cent), purposeful work (14 per cent), wellness programs/benefits (eight per cent), professional growth/training (seven per cent) and a social and supportive culture (four per cent).

About half (48 per cent) of employees said financial concerns are negatively impacting their mental health, up from 31 per cent in 2022. The majority (90 per cent) also said they’re worried about inflationary pressures and rising costs, while 55 per cent said they’re living paycheque to paycheque (55 per cent), up from 43 per cent in 2022.

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