A Better 401k Cited as Top Reason to Switch Jobs

A new survey from Betterment’s 401k business shows a “high-quality 401k” and a “401k matching program” are the most enticing benefits for potential job-changers

by Brian Anderson
December 28, 2021 2 minute read

Nearly 3 in 4 employees (74%) in a new survey said they would likely leave their job for an employer that offered better financial benefits—and among younger generations, this is especially true, as 79% of Millennials and 84% of Gen Z said they would leave their current job for one with better benefits.

And we think you’re going to like the top two “most enticing benefits” they’re seeking:

• A high-quality 401k or other retirement plans, cited by 65% of respondents

• A 401k matching program, cited by 56% of respondents

The recent survey from Betterment for Business, Betterment’s 401k business, titled, “The Impact of The Great Resignation on Benefits Needs and Expectations,” found that “employees are reconsidering which benefits are most important as they evaluate their financial needs.”

A majority of respondents indicate they highly value financial wellness offerings—with 68% saying they would prioritize them over an extra week of vacation.

Beyond a high-quality 401k and a 401k matching program, a flexible spending account or health savings account was the next most enticing benefit workers want.

Against the backdrop of “The Great Resignation,” U.S. employers are struggling to attract and retain talent. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced in November that 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September, continuing a string of record-breaking months. Employees have more leverage than ever to demand better benefits packages from their employers.

While the reasons behind The Great Resignation phenomenon remain a source of ongoing debate, Betterment’s report says one undeniable factor is that many workers have been looking for more financial stability and support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees are navigating issues ranging from rising healthcare costs, mountains of student debt, and uncertainty around retirement and the future of Social Security.

As a result, Betterment’s 401k business—and the industry at large—has seen an increased focus on holistic financial wellness benefits, as companies realize they need to do more to entice talent, and support and retain current workers.

When it comes to switching jobs, higher pay is still a determining factor for many workers. But in the report, Betterment points out that good benefits are critical too.

“A key role that the employer can play in supporting long-term financial wellness is guiding employees on how and where to save, and helping them understand their full financial picture,” the report states. “As such, employers that can offer ways to both support employees financially in the near-term, through bonuses and good salaries, as well as the long-term—by offering benefits such as retirement plans, employer-sponsored emergency funds, or student loan repayment programs—will help put people on the best track to achieve financial wellness, and boost employee satisfaction.”

You can view the entire survey report here.