Demographic Shifts, Employee Expectations are Redefining the Workplace, MetLife’s 15th Annual Employee Benefit Trends Study Finds

Retention is the top benefits objective as the gig economy reshapes
the future of work

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#MetLifeBenefitTrends–MetLife’s 15th Annual U.S.
Employee Benefit Trends Study
, released today, confirms that the
gig economy and demographic shifts are disrupting the workplace,
redefining employees’ workplace expectations. MetLife’s study found that
the gig economy is posing a real threat to employers, with over half (51
percent) of employees saying they are interested in contract or
freelance work for more flexible hours, the ability to work from home
and project variety, as opposed to a full-time salaried job which may
not offer such perks. Freelance work appeals to Millennials most, with
nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the generation interested, followed by
Gen X (52 percent) and Boomers (41 percent). Employers agree that the
gig economy is affecting the workplace: nearly two-thirds (59 percent)
say the increase of temporary jobs will impact the workplace in the next
3-5 years.

This may be why retention is the top priority among employers. When
asked to rank their top benefits priorities, more employers (83 percent)
chose retaining employees as an important benefits objective than
increasing employee productivity (80 percent) and controlling health and
welfare benefit costs (79 percent). More so, over half of employers (51
percent) say that retaining employees through benefits will become even
more important in the next 3-5 years.

“Not only is the gig economy disrupting the traditional workplace, but
the workforce itself is transforming. There are four generations working
side by side. Employees’ definitions of family are changing, and certain
demographics, like single women, are on the rise. Employees have very
distinct wants and needs and expect their employers to meet them,” said
Todd Katz, executive vice president, Group Benefits, at MetLife. “To
attract and retain top talent in this new era, especially during a time
of decreasing unemployment rates, employers have an opportunity to adapt
their workplaces to address the unique needs of their employees. This is
especially critical when it comes to benefits.”

Benefits Customization Drives Retention

To meet the varying needs of the workforce today, providing employees
with the ability to customize their benefits is key. Nearly
three-fourths (74 percent) of employees say that having benefits
customized to meet their needs is important when considering taking a
new job and 72 percent say that having the ability to customize their
benefits would increase their loyalty to their current employer.

Employees say that benefits customization is even more important than
the ability to work from home or remotely. In fact, over three-fourths
(76 percent) of Millennials say benefits customization is important for
increasing their loyalty to their employers, compared to two-thirds (67
percent) of Boomers.

“Today, our lives reflect our preferences. We choose how our coffee is
made, create personalized playlists and decide which apps we have on our
phones. In all aspects of our lives, we can make choices to meet our
unique needs. The same should apply when it comes to benefits,” said
Katz. “This is particularly important for driving engagement and loyalty
among Millennials, who comprise the largest generation in the workplace
today. Customization for them is inherent, and they want to know that
their employers understand and are willing to address their specific

Employees Look to the Workplace to Meet their Holistic Wellness Needs

Not only is benefits customization important for employee satisfaction
and retention, but so is helping employees with their holistic wellness
needs. In fact, nearly two-thirds (59 percent) of employees say that
health and wellness benefits are important for increasing loyalty to
their employer and 53 percent say the same about financial planning

However, employers are not addressing this need. Only a third of
employers (33 percent) say they are very likely to offer wellness
benefits and just 18 percent currently offer financial planning
programs. At the same time, only about a third (36 percent) of employers
say wellness benefits and financial planning programs are valuable to
their employees.

“In the past, there was a clear delineation between work and life. That
line is now blurred with work and life overlapping more than ever
before. As this happens, employees are looking to their employers to
help them with their overall wellness needs, whether it’s through gym
memberships to stay healthy or financial education programs to plan for
their futures,” said Katz. “As employees have more non-traditional
workplace options available to them, it will become increasingly
important that employers prioritize holistic wellness to drive employee
engagement and loyalty in this new era.”

Research Methodology

MetLife’s 15th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study was
conducted from October 2016 through November 2016, and consisted of two
distinct studies fielded by ORC International, a leading business
intelligence firm. The employer survey comprised 2,504 interviews with
benefits decision makers at companies with at least two employees. The
employee survey comprised 2,652 interviews with full-time employees,
ages 21 and over, at companies with at least two employees.

About ORC International

ORC International is a leader in the art of business intelligence. Its
teams are passionate about discovering what engages people around the
world. By combining quality data, smart synthesis and best-in-class
digital platforms, ORC delivers insight that powers the growth and
drives the future of its clients’ businesses. To learn more about ORC
International, visit

About MetLife

MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), through its subsidiaries and affiliates
(“MetLife”), is one of the largest life insurance companies in the
world. Founded in 1868, MetLife is a global provider of life insurance,
annuities, employee benefits and asset management. Serving approximately
100 million customers, MetLife has operations in nearly 50 countries and
holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin
America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit


MetLife, Inc.
Andrea Friedman, 212-578-0591