Consulting group Mercer popped the lids on the heads of about 3,000 U.S. workers to see what was going on inside. Mercer wanted to know how they were feeling about their jobs in general, their compensation and benefits, and their financial future. Some of the results defied expectations.

For instance, employees apparently don't begrudge their employers asking them to share the cost of benefits. And, despite the rebounding economy and higher wages that have been handed out as a result, folks generally don't feel properly rewarded for their role in the economic recovery.

The three major outcomes from the study:

  • Workers are bullish on benefits: "Even with employees being asked to pay more for health care, benefits are highly valued and make employees feel appreciated," Mercer said.

  • They have concerns about retirement readiness: "Retirement plans are a valued part of the deal, but employees doubt their financial readiness for retirement — especially when it concerns health care expenses in retirement," Mercer reported.

  • Talent challenges: "Base pay continues to be the most important reward element across all age groups, but satisfaction with it remains mixed. In addition, employees still see opportunity for growth but don't feel their skills are particularly well-used or developed by employer," the study said.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.