Companies Continue to Offer Plethora of Perks

April 19, 2002 ( - Although fewer and fewer companies are offering traditional pension plans in their benefits packages, they're still filling their benefits bags with a host of other goodies, despite difficult economic times, a new survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) revealed.

Only 38% of responding companies said that they still offer a defined benefit retirement plan, compared to 75% who now offer a defined contribution plan.

In terms of other financial benefits, the survey found that

  • 61% of responding companies offer incentive bonus plans, and
  • 53% said they offered new-hire referral bonuses

However, the number of organizations offering educational assistance fell from 88% in 1998 to 79% in the current survey, and career counseling programs fell from 32% to 29% over the past year. Still, professional development opportunities remain popular with approximately 94% of organizations offering these benefits for the last five years.

Healthy Companies

Despite rapidly rising health care costs, the survey results showed that 99% of respondents’ organizations offer some type of health insurance coverage.

Among the more controversial health benefits:

  • 70% provide health plans that cover contraceptives
  • 40% cover infertility treatment
  • 12% pay for grief recovery programs
  • 12% cover support groups

The survey also revealed that coverage of the following health care benefits has decreased:

  • mental health insurance, down from 84% to 76% in five years
  • on-site vaccinations, from 66% to 61% in the past two years, and 
  • retiree health care benefits, which has fallen from 39% to 31% in the past three years.

Balancing Trick

The latest SHRM survey showed that companies are becoming increasingly family-friendly, offering a plethora of work-life balance benefits:

  • 64% reporting they offer flextime
  • 41% of organizations offering some form of telecommuting, and 
  • 33% offered compressed workweeks

Children Welcome

In addition

  • 20% offer child care referral services,
  • 9% offer emergency/sick care,
  • 7% even have a summer camp
  • 6% offer on-site child care,
  • 6% offer foster care assistance
  • 5% each have company supported or subsidized child care
  • 4% have before or after school care,
  • while only 1% offer around the clock child care.

SHRM’s annual survey was e-mailed to 2,423 randomly selected SHRM members who were asked which of a list of 187 benefits their companies offered. Some 551 SHRM members responded.