As the workforce changes–in particular as Baby Boom workers are replaced by Generation X and Millennial Generation workers–there could be pressure to change traditional employer benefit programs since those younger workers value some benefits more or less highly than the older workers.
A study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that overall, the older two of those generations tend to agree more with each other, with Millennials holding the most differing views. For example, they are less likely to view health insurance as the most important benefit they receive at work (60 percent vs. 63 percent for Generation X and 67 percent for Boomers) and put a higher value than the other two generations on paid time off: more than 12 percent of Millennials consider paid time off the most important benefit, double the rate of Baby Boomers.
Millennials also put less value on benefits overall–73 percent say benefits would be extremely or very important in a decision to take or reject a job, compared with 83 percent of Boomers and 79 percent of Gen Xers–and are more likely to say that they do not understand their benefits or participate in them, it said.
Millennials also are more likely to prefer a “cafeteria” type benefits arrangement in which they would receive the same amount of money the employer now pays toward benefits under its own design and choose which benefits to spend that money on–or whether to keep it for other purposes.