Generational Differences in Benefit Preferences
When it comes to voluntary benefits, millennials have different priorities than Gen Xers and Boomers.
Education is the key to success. It’s a message millennials have grown up hearing, and one they’ve taken to heart. New research from LIMRA finds that education benefits are a top priority for this generation, with 48 percent reporting it as an important employer-provided benefit. In comparison, the study, A Matter of Opinion: Employer and Employee Perceptions of Benefits Priorities and Strategies, found just 34 percent of Gen Xers and 20 percent of Boomers consider education benefits important.
The differing views are likely attributable to each generation’s life stage. Older generations are focusing more on retirement and financial planning. Gen Xers and Boomers put more stress on disability insurance (50 percent and 63 percent) than their younger coworkers (33 percent). Meanwhile, with many millennials starting families, 4 in 10 see parental leave as an important benefit.
On the whole, the generations have similar satisfaction rates: Gen Xers are slightly more satisfied with their benefits than millennials (53 percent compared to 52 percent), and 49 percent of Boomers report that they’re satisfied with their benefits. There are some benefits that transcend generational divides: health insurance, retirement savings, paid time off and life insurance.
Employers may also have different views on which benefits are important to offer. According to the research, smaller companies are more likely to see disability insurance as an important benefit than large companies (those with 1,000 employees or more).