What Robin's Reading: 2019 Benefits Trends


The Society for Human Resource Management just released the results of their 2019 survey on benefits employers are offering to their employees. Respondents were asked whether, over the previous twelve months, they had increased, decreased, or sustained benefits offerings in each major category. We've taken a close look at the results and are sharing the key takeaways and insights from this important research.


Overall Benefits Trends

  1. Employers were more likely to increase offerings in all benefits categories than to decrease offerings.

  2. No more than 3% of organizations decreased benefits in any category.

  3. Health-related benefits and wellness benefits saw the greatest increases across employers surveyed, with 20% of employers indicating they increased offerings in those areas.

  4. Wellness benefits were more likely to be increased by large employers (500+ employees) than by small employers (1-99 employees).

  5. Only 13% of employers with fewer than 99 employees increased wellness benefits. • Interestingly enough, wellness benefits rank near the bottom of benefits that that employers believe are most important to their employees.  • Employers believe that healthcare, investment/retirement, and flexible working benefits are most important to their employees.

  6. In terms of non health-related benefits, 15% of companies increased leave benefits, while 14% increased flexible work benefits. 

  7. Professional development benefits continue to be the most widely offered benefit, provided by 87% of respondents — although the structure and nature of this benefit differs widely based on industry.

  8. Other benefits offered include housing, travel, career development, and investment/retirement benefits.

  9. Benefits for new parents have not changed markedly; 34% of companies offer paid maternity leave, 30% offer paid paternity leave. However, mothers are reporting increased on-site support including lactation rooms (51%) and the ability to bring children to work in case of childcare or health emergency.

Key Drivers



The above trends are being driven by several key drivers, including:

  1. Health Insurance Costs: According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, average family health insurance premiums have increased twice as fast as workers’ earnings and three times as fast as inflation since 2008.

  2. Competition for Talent: Although the job market is relatively strong, employers feel uncertain about increasing wages. As such, they are looking at benefits as a way of enticing top talent.

  3. Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 impacted some benefits offerings, most notably the loss of the business deduction for travel. This may help explain the increase in flexible and remote work opportunities offered by employers. 

  4. A Multi-generational Work Force: Employers are balancing Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Zers on one team — as such, they have to offer a benefits portfolio that speaks to each generation's unique priorities. This may explain the wide array of benefits offered by employers.


What This Means For You

If you're a business owner, this is a good time to benchmark your benefits package to see how you're stacking up against current trends. Are you in line with industry expectations? Do you have a handle on the benefits that matter most to your employees? In addition, do you know if your retirement plan and investment offerings are providing both your employees and you with the maximum benefits available to you?


The Robin S. Weingast & Associates team is here to help you make sure your benefits are working for you. Contact us today and let's make 2020 your most successful year yet!

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