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The last several years have been a big boon for employee benefits. The market was hot, new and unique offerings were plentiful, and tech was making it easier than ever to embrace perks and deliver them to workers. We saw a rise in enviable benefits that went beyond health and retirement coverage, from generous caregiving and family-friendly policies to student-loan repayment and free tuition. Unemployment was low, competition for jobs was fierce, and many employers have said improvements and additions were often the result of competing in a candidate-driven market.

What a difference a pandemic makes.

Some employers are now dropping or decreasing coverage as a way to cut costs. This is frustrating to employees, yet understandable from a business perspective. Initial research from consultant Pearl Meyer found that 6% of companies so far have reduced or eliminated employer contributions or matches to their retirement plan, and 16% are considering doing so.

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