401k Now ‘Table Stakes’ for Younger Workers

And they want 'advanced job benefits' from employers

401k, retirement, millennialsThey're now considered a must-have.

We know the value 401ks provide in attracting and retaining top professional talent, and despite a reputation as a selfie-taking, immediate-gratification cohort, nine out of 10 millennials are saving for retirement.

When it comes to their choices of employers and investments, they’re looking for new workforce benefits and companies that deliver financial and social value, according to Capital Group (American Funds).

As the company notes, millennials are now the largest generation of working Americans.

“Their attitudes on work, investing and retirement will shape our future,” Heather Lord, senior vice president and head of strategy and innovation at Capital Group, said in a statement. “Millennials grew up as digital natives, and they are now the new workforce natives—exploring a very different labor market than generations before them and seeking benefits that align with their lifestyles and values.”

As a result, a 401k is “table stakes” for a millennial job seeker, and they want new and advanced job benefits from employers like tuition reimbursement and a 529 college savings plan.

Eighty percent of Millennials believe that all employers should be expected to provide a retirement savings option. All three generations surveyed (millennial, baby boomer and generation X) agree on the top three “must-have” benefits: health insurance, a matching 401(k) plan and vacation time.

Fully 91 percent of millennial investors surveyed are contributing to a 401k or IRA, and 83 percent say it’s easy to transfer retirement savings from their prior plan; good news since they change jobs often and embrace nontraditional career paths.

Two-thirds of millennials have held at least two jobs in the past five years, and 21 percent say they work primarily in the gig or sharing economy.

They also rate social impact factors 13 percentage points higher than baby boomers on average, saying that it’s important for companies to promote health and wellness of consumers and employees, help disadvantaged communities, include more women in senior management and boards of directors, and promote economic opportunity for women, minorities, and LGBT individuals.

“By the time Millennials entered the labor market, long-term job security and traditional pensions were ancient history,” said Lord. “Millennial investors understand they need to take charge of saving for their retirement early in life, and they also demand more than older generations when it comes to their choices of employers and investments.”

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