What Benefits do Employees Value Most?

We surveyed 10,000 employees in the USA to find out what are the most in demand job benefits and perks.

Phil from 4 day week
8 min readMay 25, 2022

According to a Glassdoor survey, over 57% of staff say having good work benefits are amongst their top considerations when choosing to accept a job offer.

Given that over 14k people search on Google for “Amazon benefits” per month, it’s clearly important to offer good perks to your staff if you want to attract the best candidates.

Amazon Benefits

So what are the best work benefits to offer employees?

The Most Important Benefits to Employees

We conducted a survey (in partnership with Branded Research) of 10k employees in the USA to find out the job benefits you should be offering at your company. Here are the results:

Most desirable employee benefits

Based on the results of our survey, the most desirable employee benefits are:

  1. Remote working
  2. A shorter working week
  3. Flexible working hours
  4. 100% Healthcare
  5. Unlimited vacation time
  6. 401(k) company contributions
  7. Stock options or equity
  8. Childcare support

Most Desirable Employee Benefits for Women vs Men

The desirability of employee benefits varies slightly when comparing men vs women.

Most Desirable Employee Benefits for Women vs Men
  • Women are 50% more likely to say that they are most motivated to switch jobs for permanent remote working compared to men (27.2% vs 17.4%).
  • Men are more likely than women to say that they are most motivated to switch jobs for a shorter work week (22.6% vs 18.6%)

Most Desirable Employee Benefits by Age

As with gender, age is also an important factor when considering which benefits to offer staff. Millennials want different job benefits in compared to Baby Boomers.

Most Desirable Employee Benefits by Age
  • Workers under 25 are more likely to switch jobs for flexible work hours
  • Workers age 25–44 are more likely than other age segments to switch jobs for permanent remote working
  • Workers age 65+ are more likely than other age segments to switch jobs for 100% healthcare

1. Remote Working

Based on our survey, the most desirable employee benefit is remote work.

Based on our survey, 23.5% of Americans say they would be most motivated to switch jobs for permanent work-from-home/remote working.

Remote work is a fantastic employee benefit and it’s gaining popularity since most of the world went into lockdown. In the United States, it’s estimated that more than 25–30% of employees work remotely. However, many companies are still hesitant to offer this as an option for their staff.

I look for a job that allows me to work remotely. I’ve seen companies that have employees in different parts of the world, and it would be an added benefit if I can work from home as much as I can during the day. A company that allows employees to work from home is a huge plus for me. Sam Cohen — CMO @ myfreeOCR.com

2. A shorter working week

The second most desirable employee benefit is the option of working a shorter week (e.g. a 4 day work week).

Based on our survey, 20% of people said the benefit which would most likely make them switch jobs would be a shorter working week.

Many employees are looking to work a shorter working week (e.g. 32 hours instead of 40 hours) in order to build a healthier work-life balance and spend more time with family & other commitments.

There is a shift towards the need and benefits of a more balanced lifestyle. In this regard, employees are starting to give a lot of importance to those companies who value their off-time. This means respecting employees’ need for a balanced lifestyle, and not expecting urgent replies to emails, calls, and texts after their regular working hours are over. Some have begun to demand a shift to the 4-day workweek too, which is something you can gain an early competitive edge by, against your competitors in the industry. Kyle Kroeger — Founder @ The Impact Investor

3. Flexible working hours

The third most desirable employee benefit is flexible working hours. It’s often difficult to balance both personal and professional life, which is why it helps to have an employer that understands an employee’s need for a flexible working schedule.

Based on our survey, ~19% of people said the ability to work flexible working hours would be the benefit which would make them consider moving jobs.

Flexible hours is most desired by younger employees. For example, 21% of 25–44 year olds saying it was a key benefit, in comparison to only 16% of 45–60 year olds.

The 9–5 is disappearing faster than anyone thought possible. We have so much to do in our daily lives; work may be the largest chunk of our time, but it’s not the only thing. Being able to come and leave when it suits your schedule, so long as you get your work done, is a great benefit. David Patterson-Cole — CEO @ Moonchaser

4. 100% Healthcare Coverage

The fourth most desirable benefit for American employees is healthcare insurance.

Although this isn’t a concern for most Europeans (where state healthcare is often available) health insurance is one of the most desirable employee benefits for most Americans.

As you may expect, workers age 65+ are much more likely than other age segment to switch jobs for health insurance, with 22.0% saying it was a crucial benefit.

Health insurance is, in my opinion, one of the most important advantages that corporations provide. Health insurance benefits, on the other hand, can vary based on the size of the company, the industry, and how long you’ve worked there. Some organizations will just pay the most basic expenses, while others will cover dental and vision care as well. Rameez Usmani — Tech and Security Expert @ Code Signing Store

5. Unlimited vacation time

Based on our survey respondents, the fourth most desirable benefit is unlimited paid time off (PTO).

This is an increasingly popular trend amongst employers who want to offer a work life balance for their employees. Unlimited PTO allows staff to take off as much time as they need to rest and recuperate.

Critics of unlimited PTO however say that it doesn’t work well in practise, with many employees taking less time off on average than companies with traditional PTO policies. One study showed that staff with unlimited PTO took off just 13 days per year on average.

I work for a digital marketing agency that has recently instituted an unlimited PTO policy. I believe that having flexible PTO options is one of the most important things that a business should offer its employees. Having flexibility when it comes to paid time off is important to have for employees because no one really knows what could come up in their life, and they will need to adjust accordingly. For example, an important trip that is coming up could result in a problem with the employer and the employee because of the time conflict. Sebastian Gonzalez Employee @ Tandem

6. 401(k) Company Contributions

It may be a surprise to some that 401(k) company contributions only ranks as the sixth most desirable employee benefit.

401(k) plans are an easy way to start saving for retirement where the company may match contributions as a way of providing incentive. Employers may require that a certain amount of money be put in on a monthly basis, often 3%. The employer will then match that amount up to $20.5k (as of 2022).

Based on our survey results, 401(k) contributions are more desirable by older employees.

Employee benefits that apply now are great, but I would never take a job without them matching my 401(k) contributions. I would look for a job that has benefits and bonuses that I can earn now. If they offer any discounts or rewards, I am in. But I would never take a job with a company that doesn’t offer matching 401(k) contributions. I need to think about my future, and matching my contributions is a set way to save more at a faster rate. Joe Schwimmer — CEO @ Optics Force

7. Stock options or equity

Based on our survey respondents, the seventh most desirable benefit is receiving equity in the company, often offered as restricted stock units (RSU).

Equity is an important reward for employees. It can be a powerful motivator i.e. whenever the company is successful, the employee also benefits.

In the case of RSUs, employees often have the wait a number of years before owning the stock (i.e. the “vesting” period). From the company’s perspective, this is a great way to reduce employee turnover.

Offering employees a financial stake in your firm, in my opinion, is one approach to recruit top talent without competing on salary. Employees who feel like they’re a vital part of your company’s future are more likely to feel invested in it. Why? Because employees who own stock in the company have a financial stake in the company’s success. Edward Mellett Founder @ WikiJob

8. Childcare support

Based on our survey respondents, the eight most desirable benefit is receiving childcare support.

With the rising cost of childcare in many regions, it’s not surprising that companies are adding this benefit to their list of offerings. These employers offer a variety of options to employees, such as on-site care or subsidized childcare costs.

As you many expect, this benefit is much more important to younger employees with around 5% of 25–44 year olds saying it would be the benefit which would most likely make them switch jobs.

Child care benefits will become more crucial to professionals with children as more employees return to work following the coronavirus outbreak. Inquire if a company offers flexible work schedules in the event of a child care emergency. Dependent care flexible spending accounts, which give tax-free money for child care expenses, may be offered by some organizations. Some larger businesses may offer on-site child care or tuition savings. Adam Fard — founder @ Adam Fard’ UX Agency

Other desirable employee benefits

There were many other employee benefits which our survey respondants said would influence them in switch jobs. These perks were as follows:

  • Employee discounts
  • Disability coverage
  • PTO for volunteering
  • Asynchronous work
  • Clear career progression
  • Dental and vision coverage

This article was original posted on 4 day week — Software engineering jobs with a better work life balance 🎉