Voya research reveals new workplace benefits and savings needs for higher education institutions in the post-pandemic world

WINDSOR, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), today announced the release of new results from its biannual survey of pension plan decision makers in the higher education sector. Voya’s findings highlight the unique challenges and opportunities facing higher education institutions today following the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent .

Voya’s research took place in two phases:

  • An online survey of pension plan decision makers from over 300 higher education institutions.

  • In-depth interviews with a select group of decision makers.

Research has found that attracting and retaining staff are, by far, the biggest challenges facing higher education institutions – with a majority (80%) agreeing that attracting and retaining high-quality administrators is a big deal. more important today.

“The ability to attract and retain top talent has been a challenge for many industries, but for those in the higher education sector, it has only been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Brodie Wood, vice -President and National Practice Leader for Voya’s Education Market. “When you consider today’s job market with more competition for companies to find staff in general, in most cases higher education institutions are not able to compete with the advantage of the flexibility that many jobs outside of the industry offer today – such as the desire to work completely remotely, which many colleges and universities do not allow. At the same time, these challenges present many unique opportunities for these institutions to deepen their benefits offerings as an area to stand out from their peers.

Voya’s research also found that a majority (89%) of institutions agree that an organization’s overall benefits program helps attract and retain high-quality employees. Specifically, key areas of opportunity for higher education institutions to focus on when it comes to social benefits include:

  • The pension plan and the employer correspond. When asked to identify the most important benefits for attracting talent, the defined contribution (DC) plan comes out on top, followed by paid vacation and a defined benefit pension plan. Ninety percent also agree that a DC pension plan helps to attract high-quality employees, and 87% agree it helps to hold onto high quality employees. And, in response to staffing pressures and the pandemic, half (50%) of institutions report having started or increased employer-pension matching since January 2021.
  • A focus on holistic benefits. Plan sponsors generally agree that employees face significant challenges when it comes to their ability to save for retirement, including: caregiving responsibilities (87%), education (85%) and the impact of inflation (84%). As a result, some are addressing these challenges through wellness programs such as student loan repayment assistance (49%) and planning for caregivers and employees with special needs and disabilities (42%). Additionally, 83% consider the idea of ​​matching student loan payments with a retirement plan contribution to be more important today than it was before the pandemic.
  • Accompaniment and accompaniment in compensation decisions. While 86% of organizations agree that more can be done to help employees make informed decisions about how to optimize their benefits in terms of workplace benefits and savings, an even higher number (90 %) agrees that financial advice and counseling services offered in the workplace are a highly valued component of the overall benefits package.

Adapting to the “new normal”

Voya’s survey also asked institutions about which needs have grown in importance, comparing their interest now versus before the pandemic began. While in today’s environment, several actions have become more important. Among many other priorities, those that rise to the top include:

  • Adopt strong socially responsible business practices and policies in all ESG areas (85%);

  • Provide student loan assistance (82%);

  • Develop/expand a diversity, equity and inclusion strategy and/or hiring programs to attract talent (81%);

  • Addressing mental health issues to better support employees (80%); and

  • Attract and retain high quality support staff (eg food services, grounds maintenance, maintenance staff) (80%).

Interestingly, Voya’s research found that many colleges and universities include a description of their pension plan in their offers to potential applicants, with some noting that the value of their pension plan and health insurance plan is more important to staff and potential staff than others. employee benefits, including non-traditional benefits.

“While benefits can play a central role for many organizations in helping to attract and retain talent today, those in the higher education sector face even more complex needs, so it’s encouraging to see the CD plan seen as a basic tool that organizations are using to help meet the challenge,” added Wood. “Knowing that there are more opportunities ahead to support organizations through pending retirement legislation is also a big factor. It is therefore not surprising that 88% of colleges and universities believe that government support such as that described in current retirement legislation, i.e. SECURE 2.0, will help encourage employees to save, improve retirement plans and reduce costs for employers in the future.

Pension advisors play a central role

As the pension plan grows, the role of the advisor also grows in support. According to Voya’s research, two out of three higher education organizations (67%) rely on the services of a plan advisor or consultant; Of those who don’t, almost all plan to hire one next year. With respect to the services provided by plan advisors, organizations report a wide range of support functions, including plan design, investment review/selection, fiduciary and regulatory support, plan compliance , plan transitions and provider due diligence as well as implementing member education. programs and the design of financial wellness programs.

“When it comes to supporting the overall retirement readiness of their workforce, employers today face many opportunities within their extensive benefits package,” added Wood. “Pension plan advisors can play a vital role for employers in establishing a plan that can both meet their needs and guide their employee to a financially secure retirement. Therefore, at Voya, we are always focused on delivering solutions that we know will support the finance professionals we work with and ultimately help improve their clients’ retirement outcomes. »

Voya serves savings and benefits clients of all sizes and in all industries, including public and private higher education institutions and other tax-exempt retirement plan markets. Specifically for higher education, Voya supports more than 1,500 higher education pension plans, and the average tenure of a higher education client is nearly three decades.1 To learn more, visit VoyaHigherEducationMarket.com.

With a number of products, solutions and technologies that help employers and employees meet their benefits and savings needs, Voya continues to offer solutions to enable actions that can help employees to achieve positive results as part of their health and wealth benefits. This includes the recent introduction of myVoyage, a new and first digital platform for personalized financial advice and connected workplace benefits, and the integrated and holistic benefits selection experience myHealth&Wealth.

As an industry leader focused on providing benefits, savings and investment solutions to and through the workplace, Voya is committed to fulfilling its mission to enable a secure financial future for all Americans – one person, one family, one institution at a time.

All data, unless otherwise stated, is based on the results of the Voya Study of Pension Management in the Higher Education Sector conducted by Greenwald Research. The study consisted of two phases both with pension policymakers at higher education institutions, including: an online survey conducted on June 29, 2022 On July 19, 2022, from 301 pension plan decision makers at higher education institutions offering a defined contribution pension plan, as well as in-depth interviews with a select group of decision makers conducted in August 2022.

1. Voya internal data as of December 31, 2021.

About Voya Financial®

Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), is a leading health, wealth and investment company that provides products, solutions and technologies that enable a better financial future for its customers, its customers and society. Servicing the needs of 14.3 million retail, professional and institutional customers, Voya has approximately 6,000 employees and total assets under management and administration of $644 billion as of June 30, 2022. Certified as a “Great Place to Work” by the Great Place to Work® Institute, Voya is driven and also committed to conducting its business in a socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible manner. Voya has been recognized as: one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute; member of the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index; and one “Best Workplace for Disability Inclusion” on the Disability Equality Index. For more information, visit voya.com. Follow Voya Financial on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @Voya.

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