Divide Remains Between Employees and Employers over Retirement Benefit Value

February 6, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Some 56% of employers said in a survey that their workers would rather have a more hefty salary than an excellent retirement package while only 34% of employees agreed that is the case.

In fact, 62% of employees surveyed said they would leave their jobs for a similar position with an employer that offers a retirement plan.

Many employees now expect a 401(k) plan with an employer-matching contribution to be part of their overall compensation package,” said Catherine Collinson, retirement and market trends expert for the Transamerica Center for Retirement Study, in a press release .

The survey also suggests that employees may be perpetuating this gap by not communicating with their employers, with only 22% of workers saying that they have spoken to their supervisor or HR department about their retirement benefits in the last year. That fact might be one of the reasons that 77% of employers think their employees prefer not to think about retirement until they get closer to the retirement age; however, 73% of employees disagreed with that.

The communication disconnect might be closing, as employees say they are more open to hearing information about their retirement benefits, with 57% of employees saying they would like to receive more information and advice about reaching retirement goals and 68% admitting they did not know as much as they should about retirement investing.

One area in particular where it appears that employers aren’t offering certain options because employees aren’t asking is the Roth 401(k). Eighty-nine percent of employers were not offering Roth 401(K) plans as of August 2006 and only 13% planned to do so, with the number one reason being a perceived lack of employee interest in the plans. However, 44% of employees said they would prefer paying taxes now rather than they withdraw the money.

For the complete survey results go here .