While the name of the game in employee perks nowadays is flexibility, employees are searching for other perks, too. In particular, many workers are now planning to take advantage of voluntary benefits like critical illness, hospital indemnity, disability income, and accident insurance. New research from Voya, a financial services company, looks at how consumer opinion on voluntary benefits have changed in the past year. It finds that a full 63% of American workers say they’re likely to participate in voluntary benefits from their employer. That represents a significant increase from November 2021, when the figure sat at only 45%.
The research is based on a survey conducted in October of 2022 of more than a thousand U.S. adults. It shows that not all demographics are equally likely to use voluntary benefits. Baby boomers have the lowest anticipated utilization rate of all generational groups, with only 22% of them saying they’d likely use voluntary benefits – a figure that was largely unchanged from Voya’s November 2021 data. Gen Z sees a slight decrease in their interest in voluntary benefits, with 49% now planning to take advantage of these perks compared to 56% of workers last year.
However, for both Gen X and Millennials, there is a significant spike in interest in voluntary benefits. Some 50% of Gen X workers now plan to use these services, compared to 40% of workers in November 2021. Likewise, while less than half of Millennials said they were likely to use voluntary benefits a year ago, some 64% now say they’re likely to do so.
Employees with kids at home – many of whom are Millennials – are also more likely to take advantage of voluntary benefits from their employers, using them at a rate of 76% this year compared to 52% last fall, the survey data shows.
Because of the increase in employee interest towards voluntary benefits, the research suggests that offering more of these perks may be beneficial for employers looking to increase employee retention. Around 49% of workers say if they were given access to voluntary benefits they’d be likely to stay with their current employers, according to the survey data.