May 6, 2014 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – More workers are satisfied with their retirement
benefits now compared with five years ago, but satisfaction with other benefits
has declined, according to professional services firm Towers Watson.
The latest release of the annual Towers Watson Global
Benefits Attitudes Survey finds that nearly seven in 10 U.S. employees say they
are satisfied with their employer-sponsored retirement plans, including both
defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) arrangements. That’s a jump
of 13% since 2009, with much of the increase concentrated among younger
employees and those with access to DB plans.
“The economic uncertainty and corporate cutbacks over the
past few years have given employees a reason to evaluate their finances and
retirement plans,” explains Kevin Wagner, a senior consultant at Towers Watson.
“While more workers are happy with their retirement benefits, they are
increasingly concerned that their retirement income will come up short when
they exit the work force.”
Most employees view their employer plan as their primary
retirement savings vehicle, Wagner says, perhaps explaining why they are
willing to give up a portion of their paycheck for more generous and secure
retirement benefits. The survey results show 62% of employees would give up
some pay for a guaranteed retirement benefit, a sharp increase from 46% in
2009. Additionally, nearly six in 10 (58%) would sacrifice pay for more generous
In another positive sign, more than half of U.S. workers
(56%) say that retirement security has become more important to them over the
last few years. The importance of income security was more pronounced for older
workers, with nearly eight in 10 (78%) workers age 50 or older citing such
concerns. Slightly less than four in 10 (39%) employees under age 40 are
concerned about sustainable retirement income.
Interestingly, the survey found that DB plan participants
worry more about retirement security than participants with only a DC plan,
perhaps reflecting fears of further cutbacks in DB plans.
employees’ widespread concern about retirement security and readiness, this may
be the ideal time for employers to reevaluate their employee benefits and
strategies for the future,” says David Speier, a senior consultant at Towers
Watson. “Addressing employees’ preferences for retirement and health care
benefits could help employers provide a more engaging work environment, and at
the same time help workers in their efforts to prepare for a comfortable and
financially secure retirement.”