The fight for talent is on. Employers are facing a competitive environment for experienced talent and are expecting to face talent shortages as a result.

MetLife's Employee Benefit Trends Study, fielded in nine markets, revealed that employers see benefits playing an important role in this competitive landscape. Employers can use benefits as a tool for attracting and retaining employees as well as improving employee productivity.

While there are many similarities between the surveyed markets, one difference that stood out amongst them: whether employees report benefits as an important reason to stay with their employer. Is this a matter of differences in employee needs, or of how benefits are currently designed and communicated in different countries? Our research suggests the latter, and that investing in differentiated, well communicated benefits can boost an employer’s ability to retain top talent.

Differences In Employee Views When It Comes to Benefits and Retention

In the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, Chile, UAE & Russia, many employers have successfully positioned their benefits as a powerful retention tool. However, in other markets, employees are still less likely to cite benefits as an important reason to stay.

Click the image to view larger size.

Map of the world

Unrealized Potential: Can Benefits Be Seen as a Big Differentiator?

Yes, they can be! We asked employees who were currently considering leaving their employer, what would motivate them to stay. Higher salary was cited in every surveyed market as the most important reason to stay, but improving benefits packages was almost always ranked second. For example, while only 17% of U.K. respondents said that their benefits were a reason to stay, 57% said improving their benefits package could motivate them to remain with the employer.

"What could your current employer do that would keep you working for the company?"

Asked of employees that said they hoped to be working for another employer within the year


UK flag

Increase my salary


Improve my benefits package


Provide me with advancement opportunities


Contribute more to my retirement plan


Offer more flexible work arrangements (e.g., telecommute, flex time)


Reduce my work stress


Improve my job security




Good Benefits Packages Impact Engagement

Using multiple regression models, we found that the more employees valued their benefits, the more engaged they were in their work. This was found to be true in several markets studied, including Poland. We also saw similar results when we asked questions about an employee’s level of commitment to their employer – the more the employee valued their benefits, the more committed they were to the employer.

Perceived Value of Benefits and Employee Engagement

If an employer increases an employee’s perceived value of benefits by 1 point on the 5 point agreement scale, it increases the employer’s sense of engagement to the employee by 12%.


Poland flag
Perceived Value of Benefits

Smart Choices Make For Stand Out Benefits

On average, about half of the employees surveyed expressed a desire for their employers to offer a wider array of voluntary benefits. Employers were also in agreement. Interestingly, in markets surveyed in Europe and the UAE, sharing the cost of new benefits was the primary funding vehicle employers expected to use to fund new benefits. This trend was seen to be true, even for markets like Russia, where there are very few employee paid benefit options. Other ways to add value to your benefits package? Employees are also looking for personalized benefits and more health coverage.

For benefits you plan to introduce in the next 3 years, what percent will be a shared cost between you and your employees?


Russia Flag


Critical Illness


Cancer Insurance


Travel Insurance


Life and Disability

Getting Credit: Communications That Differentiate

Overall, both employers and employees surveyed felt that benefits communication requires attention and improvement. Less than 40% of employees across the nine markets said that the benefits communications they received from their employer effectively communicated their choices. Not taking an active role in communications reduces the potential to position benefits as a unique advantage of an organization. And, as we see below in the UAE, employees who highly valued their benefits felt that the communications they received were informative and educational.

“My company’s benefit communications effectively educate me on my benefit options so I can select the options that best meet my needs”


UAE Flag

Employees who feel their company's benefit communications is effective

Employees who value benefits

Employees who do not value benefits

Benefits Play a Pivotal Role in Retention

Benefits are increasingly important to employees around the world as they evaluate their current and future employers. These benefits are what help set organizations apart and will play a pivotal role in attracting and retaining talent.

For more information, please refer to our Insights to Go summaries:

Poland Russia United Arab Emirates

Or contact your account executive to discuss how we can help you with your benefits strategies.

The sources for the information and graphics included in this webpage are the Employee Benefit Trends Study surveys carried out by MetLife in the following markets: USA, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Poland, Russia, UAE, Australia & UK.