Why and how public sector leaders should help their employees retire
Do pensions matter as much as they used to? According to a recent Accenture study, pensions remain a major factor for job seekers. Not only are workers more likely to accept a job offer that includes pension benefits, they are also significantly more likely to keep working for an organization that provides a retirement plan.
Pension benefits are particularly attractive for employees in the public sector, and potentially can be leveraged more effectively as part of the overall compensation “package” as agencies compete to attract workers, particularly those with in-demand digital skills. Our research shows that public-sector workers are more likely than their private-sector peers to stay with an organization due to pension benefits (77 percent vs. 62 percent). Public-sector workers also were more likely to cite pension benefits as a critical factor in accepting a job (80 percent public vs. 74 percent private).
Reflecting the importance of pension benefits, as the age of retirement creeps up owing to longer lifespans and rising healthcare costs, current and retired employees alike said they want more help with retirement planning and coaching (cited by more than 80 percent overall). Younger workers were the most interested, with nearly nine in 10 Millennials citing an interest in more retirement planning (88 percent) and coaching (86 percent).
What can employers either begin addressing or do more of to help their employees plan for a smooth and financially secure future?
Beyond offering monetary pension benefits and encouraging employees to save for retirement, employers can help prepare employees for retirement by providing better tools and other resources to help navigate the process. People increasingly expect such services via the same mobile and other digital channels that many businesses are using to reach customers to enhance personalization and lower costs. While more than 80 percent said they want more help planning for retirement, only half (49 percent) of currently active workers said their employer offers retirement coaching or education.
Employers have many options at their disposal to help employees plan for their financial future. For organizations with limited financial or technological resources, providing retirement counseling or connecting workers to external information sources is a good place to start. For others, digital technologies can be indispensable in creating a more confident, retirement-ready workforce.
Employers exploring the digital route should consider:
Offering a webinar: More than half (54 percent) of respondents say they would like to attend a webinar for retirement education, and less than one in five (14 percent) already have.
Creating an employee pension app: Seven in 10 respondents either have used or say they would use a mobile app to receive retirement info.
Providing a digital retirement coach: Almost half of the respondents (46 percent) said they would like to use a digital retirement coach, but only 11 percent have been offered one.
Organizations that provide the tools to educate and assist their workers with retirement planning are likely to reap a variety of tangible rewards, first off by being more attractive to potential recruits and the established workforce. By investing in the retirement success and financial wellbeing of employees, organizations can build loyalty and trust and a stronger foundation for their reputation and overall mission success.
Owen Davies leads Accenture’s global and North American pensions practice. During more than 25 years with the company, he has primarily focused on systems integration and technology use by large organizations, U.S. federal, state and local agencies, utilities and financial services.