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Employees Are Looking For Higher Wages & More Benefits

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Devin Miller
December 15, 2021

It’s no surprise that wages for higher-income workers have grown exponentially over the past few decades. For mid- and lower-wage workers, however, that hasn’t been the case. Over the past 40 years, wages for the top 5% of workers rose 63%, while lower-wage workers saw an increase as little as 3%. Combined with automation and outsourcing of many middle-class jobs, the stress of starting and keeping a job has become increasingly difficult. Now, almost 18 months into a pandemic that has pushed frontline and essential workers to their limits, many companies are noticing a labor shortage; that is, many employees are leaving in search of a better opportunity.

Workers have felt the brunt of the pandemic

The past year and a half has, among many things, illuminated the ways in which some workplaces make it difficult to motivate employees in times of high pressure. This is especially true for food service workers, who faced an overwhelming surge in demand as dine-in restaurants closed. Many companies were severely understaffed, leaving a handful of employees to deal with busy and extended shifts. Often, this was for less than or equal to $10/hr. (Some individuals reported earning a larger income on unemployment benefits than they would while working at a restaurant.) Employees were shamed for taking mandated breaks, and their jobs came with minimal benefits. Randstad found that almost 20% of workers changed jobs during the pandemic. Of those, 42% went in search of better compensation, and 30% switched jobs for better benefits.

Making the workplace the best place to work

One recent Forbes article used the manufacturing industry as an example of the tight spot some employers have found themselves in. With rising material costs and higher workplace standards than some other countries, manufacturers are having a hard time increasing wages. However, employees aren’t just searching for higher pay. People are going to workplaces that welcome them and their lifestyles. In 2020, the most sought-after benefits included:

  • Remote work
  • Healthcare
  • Paid time off
  • Paid family leave
  • Student loan assistance
  • A four-day work week

The list also included things like access to gyms and pet insurance. While providing all of these benefits may not be feasible for every employer, offering at least a few is almost guaranteed to attract and retain motivated employees.

It’s time to offer the best of both worlds

One of the most desired benefits in the last two years was “flexible hours.” This can be accomplished much more easily nowadays, as opposed to a few years ago when hybrid work models weren’t nearly as common. In the winter of 2020, PwC found that remote work has been extremely successful with employees, and at the same time, most employees would prefer to maintain a hybrid work model rather than give up in-office or remote work completely. Harvard Business Review conducted a survey on employers’ reaction to this data and found 66% of companies plan to offer greater work flexibility, “a family-friendly benefit with no direct costs to the business.”

How increasing wages benefits employers

Augmenting your benefits and pay will help grow your company. In 2016, the top three drivers of job satisfaction were respectful treatment, benefits, and compensation. Now, some believe the most important elements are a company-supported work/life balance, engaging company culture, and performance management. However, the latter are not necessarily achievable when employees are overworked and underpaid. By increasing pay and benefits, your company will see higher rates of retention and motivation, as well as likely attraction of new employees.

Finding the right benefits for your company

You might be struggling to balance offering the right benefits with managing your company’s budget. Some of the more cost-efficient options include flexible hours, commuting assistance, and health savings plans. Flexible hours may allow your business to stay open for longer as employees work staggered shifts. Commuting assistance might attract a more diverse range of talent and encourage environmentally-friendly habits, and emergency savings plans, like SecureSave, empower your employees to take control of their finances. Employers often notice their employees are more productive when they are less stressed about their health coverage.

Secure offers an easy-to-use, out-of-plan emergency savings account, called SecureSave, that can help your employees save automatically. Employees want this benefit – 70% say they would save with an employer-sponsored savings plan and 90% say they would save with employer matches. Secure has purpose-built an out-of-plan ESA solution and technology to automate the capability. Learn more by contacting us at Secure or sign up to help your employees start saving today.

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Devin Miller

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Devin Miller