Workers prefer better benefits over more pay, study claims

Proper retirement plan valued most by workers, survey finds

Before Covid-19 felled the economy, workers were increasingly likely to favour increased benefits packages over pay rises, according to research from consultancy Willis Towers Watson (WTW).

The firm’s research was conducted late last year, prior to the onset of the global pandemic that has thrown the world’s economy into chaos. WTW insists, however, that the cohort of workers seeking more benefits over better pay “might be expected to increase” after Covid-19, as extras such as healthcare packages become more desirable for employees.

The Global Benefits Attitudes survey was conducted among 40,000 respondents across 27 countries in the three months to the end of last September. It included more than 750 Irish workers.

The study found that a proper retirement plan was valued most by workers, with 60 per cent highlighting it in the research.


The preference was not just restricted to older workers, with two-thirds of employees in their 20s willing to pay more towards their retirement plan if they thought it would reap more rewards. This compared with 51 per cent of this cohort when similar research was conducted in 2015.

“Interest in health insurance benefits has increased across all age groups, with 49 per cent of those aged 50+ now willing to pay a higher amount compared to 29 per cent in 2015,” said WTW. “It would be expected that these figures will increase due to the Covid-19 outbreak in spite of the recent Government measures in relation to private healthcare.”

Lower-paid workers in Ireland are less satisfied with their benefits packages than higher-paid workers, however.

“Only 39 per cent of those earning less than €35,000 feel their benefits needs are being met. This compares with 61 per cent of those earning more than €65,000 who are satisfied with their benefits.”

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times