Survey says finance, tech and manufacturing employees most satisfied with work benefits

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 142 views 

A new study from Glassdoor Economic Research reveals employees in the finance, technology and manufacturing industries are most satisfied with their benefits. Though official sources show how many U.S. employees have access to benefits in their workplaces, until now, there has been little information on the quality of those benefits.

Through Glassdoor’s unique data set of more than 470,000 benefits reviews shared by U.S. employees, this study, titled The Best Industries for Benefits, compares eight industries by employee satisfaction with overall benefits ratings and with popular benefits such as maternity/paternity leave, 401(k) retirement plans and free food and snacks.

“This study shines a light on the quality of benefits in the workplace, which traditionally we have known very little about, and offers a first look into how satisfied employees are with the benefits packages at their workplace. Job seekers and employers alike are paying more attention to benefits and perks as part of total compensation,” said Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist of Glassdoor. “At the end of the day, it’s not all about pay. Employers should invest in the quality of their benefits programs to attract and retain talent in this tough hiring landscape. Attractive benefits and perks are an important hiring tool, and we know they are one of the top factors job seekers consider before applying.”

The Glassdoor study is unique in that it looks at not only the average benefits ratings by industry, but it also illustrates the full distribution of benefit ratings. To offer a more well-rounded view of the quality of benefits by industry, the study shows how ratings on a 1- to 5-point scale are distributed. For example, a flatter distribution line indicates a more diverse distribution of ratings across the industry, signaling greater variances from company to company.

In terms of overall benefits, the highest-rated industries are finance (3.72 benefits rating), technology (3.68) and manufacturing (3.64). Many high-demand, high-skilled jobs such as data scientist, tax manager and software engineer are found in these industries as well as high-skilled blue-collar manufacturing jobs.

Two industries had below-average overall benefits ratings: restaurant, bars & food services (2.73) and retail (3.11). Though retail and food services industries are less likely to offer benefits, this study shows that even among employees in the food services and retail industries that receive benefits, they are still rated lower than other industries.

The importance of benefits and perks to job seekers and employers is rising. According to a recent Glassdoor survey, three in five people consider benefits and perks among their top considerations before applying for a job. Benefits like health insurance, paid leave and retirement plans today make up about one-third of the total compensation pie – a share that has been rising in recent decades.

Though the U.S. has no mandated paid maternity/paternity leave, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 87% of private sector employees have access to unpaid family leave while just 12% have access to paid family leave. This highlights the importance of the quality of maternity and paternity leave for employees, though the quality differs dramatically by industry.

Similar to overall benefits ratings, the finance industry (3.77) and the information technology industry (3.71) lead the pack with the highest-rated maternity/paternity leave benefits. Education, which includes many U.S. universities, follows with a 3.60 maternity/paternity leave benefits rating. The health care industry (3.36) and retail industry (3.41) have the lowest average maternity/paternity leave benefits ratings.

In terms of 401(k) retirement benefits plans, the study shows an even distribution in terms of employee satisfaction across industries. This suggests that employees generally have the same level of satisfaction with their 401(k) retirement plans than other benefits the study examined. This makes sense given many 401(k) plans are standardized across employers compared to maternity/paternity leave plans or free lunch and snack programs.

Free food and snacks have been made popular by the technology industry in recent years. In this study, the information technology industry (4.06) does, in fact, have the most satisfied employees when it comes to the free food perk. It is followed by business services (3.94) and manufacturing (3.90). Lowest-rated industries for this benefit are the education industry (3.22) and retail (3.34). Interestingly, free food has long been a perk in the restaurant, bars & food services industry, which falls in the middle of the pack but still above average at 3.80.

To learn more, read the full study The Best Industries for Benefits, click here.