Two-thirds (65 per cent) of younger U.S. workers say paid time off is the No. 1 employer benefit that influences their job search, followed by a flexible work schedule (58 per cent), according to a new survey by the Bank of America and Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.
The survey, which polled more than 1,000 employees aged 24 to 35, found more than half (54 per cent) of female respondents said a flexible work schedule or environment is a significant factor in considering a new employer, compared to 44 per cent of men.
Just a quarter (24 per cent) of all respondents strongly agreed their employer has policies or structures in place to support work-life balance. And the percentage of employees who rated their workplace wellness programs as good or very good was highest among those who also had flexible work schedules.
More than two-fifths (44 per cent) of respondents said they have outstanding student loans or consumer debt and, among this group, half (49 per cent) said paying off those debts is a greater priority than saving for retirement. Among those who plan to retire before age 65, 40 per cent said they plan to fully stop working, compared to just 28 per cent who said they expect to retire after age 65.
The survey also found 61 per cent of white employees said they participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, compared to 51 per cent of Hispanic employees and 46 per cent of Black employees. Similarly, 62 per cent of white employees said they participate in an employer-sponsored health benefits plan, a percentage that decreases among Hispanic (59 per cent) and Black (53 per cent) workers.
“In the post-pandemic era for the workplace — with people returning to the office, hybrid work environments and desires for greater work-life balance — employers need to adapt quickly,” said Kevin Crain, head of retirement research and insights at Bank of America, in a press release. “To be an employer of choice to attract and retain young adult workers, employers need to take greater responsibility for their employees’ overall wellness by offering new benefits and encouraging utilization of existing benefits.”