SHRM: Benefits Package Costs Flat in 2005

June 20, 2005 ( - Sixty nine percent of companies in a new survey said the cost of their benefits package stayed about the same in 2005 over a year earlier.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) said that 28% reported a benefits package cost increase.

In terms of benefits coverage, SHRM reported that most benefits remained at the same level or fluctuated a bit this year over 2004:

  • vision insurance increased from 71% to 80%
  • organizations offering paid family leave increased from 24% to 30%
  • dependent care flexible spending accounts increased from 73% to 79%
  • domestic benefits for same-sex partners increased to 32% from 27%
  • HMO coverage increased from 51% to 53%
  • employer-funded health reimbursement accounts dropped from 18% to 17%
  • prescription drug coverage remained at 97%
  • onsite vaccinations fell to 56% from 60%
  • 93% of organizations continued to offer professional development opportunities to their employees.

The survey of 386 human resources (HR) professionals covered 219 benefits offered by employers and tracks trends over the past five years.

Benefits Important in Job Satisfaction

Meanwhile, a separate SHRM survey of HR managers and employees found that 80% of workers cite benefits, compensation and work/life balance as being most important to their job satisfaction.

Women and workers younger than 35 reported work/life balance as the most important component to their job satisfaction. Men say that work/life balance is the fourth most important aspect to their job satisfaction and workers 56 years old or older do not rate work/life balance as one of their five most important components in how they view their job.

At the same time, HR professionals say that there are more important factors that contribute to job satisfaction, such as:

  • relationships with immediate supervisors
  • management recognition of employee job performance
  • communication between employees and senior management.

The survey questions were e-mailed to randomly selected SHRM members, yielding 505 responses from human resource professionals and 600 randomly selected US employees.

SHRM members may access the complete survey online for free at Non-members may purchase a survey by calling 1-800-444-5006.