Small Company Employees Less Satisfied With Their Benefits

December 4, 2003 ( - Workers employed at large- and medium-sized companies are more satisfied with their total benefits package than their counterparts at smaller organizations.

Nearly three-fourth (74%) of employees at large organizations – those companies with more than 500 employees – and 60% of medium-sized organizations – companies with employee headcounts between 100 and 499 – report being satisfied with their total benefits package compared to less than half (47%) of those employed at small companies, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)/CNN fn Job Benefits Survey.

Large gaps in satisfaction levels were noted across the benefit spectrum. Employees in medium-sized firms (62%) and large organizations (67%) are almost twice as likely to report satisfaction with their medical benefits than the 38% of small-company employees who report satisfaction with their health-care benefits. Likewise, employees in medium-sized (66%) and large (70%) organizations are satisfied with their paid time off benefits compared to just 44% in small companies.

“This survey clearly indicates that it is critically important for small organizations to design comprehensive employee benefits packages,” said Ken Jautz, executive vice president of CNN News Group’s business news operations. “Small businesses are the backbone of the US economy, yet they face serious financial and creative challenges associated with providing employee benefits packages. To retain top talent, remain competitive and grow financially, these businesses must be resourceful to keep employees satisfied.”

Variations were also noted among satisfaction levels across age lines. Educational assistance is important to 20% of employees 35 and under, and only 4% of employees 56 and over. In addition, employees 35 and under (31%), and 36 to 55 (28%) value flexible work schedules more than employees 56 and over (19%).

Examining the group as a whole, the survey found health care, paid time off and retirement benefits to be the most important benefits related to overall job satisfaction. Among the benefits that ranked least important were child-care assistance, flexible spending accounts and professional development. Overall, the majority of employees (63%) report being satisfied with their total benefits package, and 76% reported overall satisfaction with their current job.