Millennial business owners more likely to invest in employee benefits

Millennial business owners are more likely to invest in employee benefits with 81 per cent investing in benefits within a year of launching their business, according to a new report by Manulife Financial.

The online survey of 1,010 Canadian small business owners, 25 per cent of whom are millennials, found nearly half (45 per cent) of millennial respondents offer wellness programs to employees compared to 22 per cent of business owners who are baby boomers.

Read: A third of millennials would pay more for better health benefits: survey

Millennial business owners are also more likely to offer group pension plans or other forms of retirement savings compared to baby boomers (44 per cent versus 20 per cent), as well as group health and dental benefits (58 per cent versus 38 per cent), group disability insurance (51 per cent versus 37 per cent) and group life insurance (53 per cent versus 40 per cent).

small-business-owners-manulife“Our research shows a connection between the investment in the health and wealth of employees and their level of engagement and productivity,” said Donna Carbell, senior vice president of group benefits at Manulife.

“Millennials understand what attracts and retains millennials and they are definitely going to scoop up the best talent by implementing benefits programs as soon as possible.”

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Manulife’s report also reveals that not only are millennial business owners more likely to invest in employee benefits, they’re also more likely to seek experts committed to recruiting and retaining talent.

One-third (34 per cent) of millennial business owners said they hired an human-resource professional before they started their business, while only 10 per cent of baby boomer business owners hired one within the first six months of operation.

“Baby boomers and millennials have very different philosophies,” said Penny Zanussi, principal consultant at Cowan Insurance Group and a member of the report’s advisory board. “The older generation wants to keep traditional benefits, while the younger generation wants flexible plans and much more coverage for paramedical practitioners. They want to stay healthy and are somewhat proactive rather than reactive.”

Read: Sounding Board: Millennials’ tendency to invest like Grandpa a challenge for financial industry

The affordability of providing benefits is a top priority for all generations of business owners, according to the report. When it comes to group benefits, 34 per cent of respondents cited affordability as the top priority while just 17 per cent rated the affordability of pension and retirement products as a top priority.