Utility, Insurance Industry Benefits Among The Best

November 12, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The utility, insurance, durable manufacturers and finance industries are offering the best benefit programs, according to Mercer Human Resources Consulting.

Mercer’s 2002 Spotlight on Benefits Report, provides information on what makes some industry benefit plans better than others.   Contributing to a strong showing are industries that offer benefits ranked higher than the market median:

  • Utility-retirement/savings 25% higher, health/group benefits 19% higher
  • Insurance- retirement/savings and health/group benefits both 17% higher
  • Durable manufacturers-retirement savings 19% higher, health/group benefits 9% higher
  • Finance-retirement/savings 33% higher, health/group benefits are equal to the median

Those industries offering the least competitive benefit programs are:

  • Arts/entertainment/recreation
  • High technology
  • Retail trade
  • Wholesale trade

Larger employers offering both defined benefit and defined contribution plans are down, from 75% in 1995 to 57% this year.   Utility and finance firms are more likely to offer both types of plans, companies in the arts/entertainment/recreation industry the least.

Defined benefit plans report average pay pensions are still the most common representing 70% of the total.   Nineteen percent of all plans report using a cash balance plan.

Health care benefit costs are on the rise, particularly co-pay amounts.   Those offering co-pays of $10 are now at 33%, with 31% offering $15 co-pays, and 33% at $20 co-pay levels.

Vacation time was another important measure in the survey, finding 77% of employers are offering a traditional vacation plan, while 23% have moved to a paid time off bank, allowing employees to select the days off used for sick days, personal time or vacation from a single bank of time out of work days.  

Companies are also offering more vacation time for the earlier years of employment.   Fifty percent of those surveyed now offer 10 to 14 vacation days to new hires.  

The survey polled more than 1,000 large US organizations.   For more information or to purchase the complete survey, go to www.imercer.com .