Human Resources News & Insights

Top 10 job factors that attract, retain employees

What do employees value most today? Recently, 9,218 full-time U.S. employees at nongovernmental organizations were asked to rank 23 job factors by what’s most important to them. Here is their top 10 (by age group). 

(Note: The following is from the 2011 Towers Watson Retirement Attitudes Survey.)

Most important factors that attracted employees younger than 40 to an employer

  1. Job security
  2. Base pay
  3. Healthcare benefits
  4. Vacation/paid time off
  5. Organization’s reputation as a great place to work
  6. Length of commute
  7. Career development opportunities
  8. Retirement benefits
  9. Challenging work
  10. Promotion opportunities

Most important factors that attracted those age 40 to 49 to an employer

  1. Healthcare benefits
  2. Base pay
  3. Job security
  4. Vacation/paid time off
  5. Challenging work
  6. Organization’s reputation as a great place to work
  7. Retirement benefits
  8. Length of commute
  9. Career development opportunities
  10. Relationship with supervisor/manager

Most important factors that attracted those age 50 and older to an employer

  1. Job security
  2. Healthcare benefits
  3. Base pay
  4. Retirement benefits
  5. Length of commute
  6. Challenging work
  7. Vacation/paid time off
  8. Organization’s reputation as a great place to work
  9. Organization’s products/services
  10. Caliber of co-workers

The growing importance of retirement benefits

One of the bigger takeaways from the survey: As both a talent magnet and retention tool, retirement benefits are one of the job factors that’s become significantly more attractive in recent years. That’s no doubt spurred by the recent financial crisis in the U.S.

Since 2009, the percentage of employees at organizations with a defined benefit (DB) plan who said the plan was an important reason they joined their company rose from 31% to 51% — a nearly 65% increase. Of those working for an organization with a defined contribution (DC) plan, 26% said it was in important reason they joined their company, up 5% from 2009.

When it comes to retention, 68% of employees at organizations with a DB plan said the plan was an important reason they stay with their present employer, up 16% from 2009. In addition, 37% of employees at organizations with a DC plan said the plan was a big reason they’re staying put, up 4% from 2009.

Source: 2011 Towers Watson Retirement Attitudes Survey.

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