The Benefits That Job Seekers and Employees are Prioritizing in 2021

It will probably come as no surprise to learn that the coronavirus pandemic has affected how workers view benefits. As employees began working from home and taking other precautions to protect themselves from illness, benefits have become much more important to them, mainly related to health and wellness.

In a recent survey, almost 60 percent of those responding said that benefits were among the most important factors they considered before taking a job. And 80 percent of employees said they want benefits more than a pay raise.

And this, in turn, caused companies to adjust the benefits they offered and to do it at a pace much faster than usual.

Benefit Changes Resulting from the Pandemic

Health and wellness benefits have always been important to workers, but the pandemic gave them increased significance. They are now the most important benefits among employees, and company officials say they are likely to remain so for at least the next several years. After healthcare, the most important benefits, according to surveys, appear to be more flexible hours, more vacation time, and work-from-home options.

Companies have responded by enhancing their healthcare benefits and wellness programs. More than 50 percent of those surveyed reported doing so. More than 30 percent of those surveyed are changing their paid time off and vacation guidelines. About 25 percent are giving employees greater flexibility with their schedules. Other companies are setting up fitness, meditation, and nutrition support programs.

The workplace changes caused by the pandemic have also led companies to offer more childcare support for workers, telehealth initiatives, and mental health programs. However, companies are scaling back with other benefits, such as retirement programs, to finance these changes.

How Long

Another question is the durability of these new benefits packages because they are more expensive. As more people get vaccinated, and the dangers of the virus recede, some companies may decide that a wholesale upgrade in their healthcare benefits is too costly to maintain indefinitely.

What could happen is that companies will begin offering a more comprehensive range of options to workers with different levels of coverage, so they can choose a plan that best fits their needs.

But the overall focus on benefits is sure to remain, according to business experts. They are now a top priority among workers, and companies will need to focus on them as well to remain competitive.

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