A new survey, The Benefits of the '90s, found plan participants strongly value their profit-sharing and 401(k) plans over many other benefits.
Conducted by the Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America, the study asked 533 full-time employees for their views on profit-sharing/401(k) plans and other benefits.
The survey respondents were asked to select which benefits they would want if they could only have two; 27% said they would want profit-sharing/401(k) plans to be one of the two. That ranked the plans above traditional pension plans (25%), dental insurance (23%) and life insurance (22%). Health insurance was the most popular choice, named by 85% of participants.
The results showed that 86% of the total respondents said they think retirement plans are important benefits to have.
An equal number said it is important to them that any job offer they receive include these plans. However, only 51% of those surveyed actually work for companies that offer such retirement plans.
Defined contribution plans seem to be an especially important benefit for younger workers, ages 25 to 34; 88% said they value such plans highly.
The survey's authors also suggest many companies are adding profit-sharing and 401(k) plans into the benefit mix, rather than terminating defined benefit plans.
Of the 51% of employees who are offered defined contribution plans by their employers, 66% also are provided with traditional defined benefit plans.
David Wray, the executive director of the PSCA, attributed the approximately 14-fold increase in the number of 401(k) plans in the past 10 years (from 17,000 in 1984 to about 240,000 today) to the addition of defined contribution plans to traditional benefit formulas by large corporations.