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Tips For Job Seekers: Benefits.

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With the pandemic winding down, millions of Americans are looking for work. The good news is that many companies are ramping up hiring, which makes understanding the benefits package offered by prospective employers a timely topic. Catherine Collinson, CEO and president of nonprofit Transamerica Institute, is here today to explain more about company benefits and what they can mean for job seekers.

Welcome back, Catherine. To start off, can you tell us some of the benefits job seekers should keep an eye out for?

Catherine Collinson:

In short, employee benefits are a form of compensation that goes above and beyond a regular salary. As people are looking for jobs, they should be aware of the types of benefits employers offer.

In addition to health care insurance, other common benefits include retirement plans, life insurance, and disability insurance. A growing trend is the offering of workplace wellness programs, which support healthy behaviors through offerings such as coaching, screenings, and fitness programs. Some companies are now also offering financial wellness programs which can help employees improve their financial health.

Al:

Those are a lot of options and it seems like it could be overwhelming to determine exactly what prospective employers offer. What are your tips for evaluating them?

Catherine:

Do your homework. Some company benefits have employee costs, which is important to know. When it comes to health insurance, some employers have several options to choose from – so take time to study what coverage is best for you and your situation.

Al:

Once someone starts a new a position, what are things to consider at the new job?

Catherine:

If your company offers a retirement plan and you aren’t automatically enrolled in it, if it’s right for you, make a point to sign up sooner rather than later. It’s all too easy to procrastinate and time flies. On a related note, be sure to ask about enrollment deadlines for all the benefits offered.

Al:

What are matching contributions and how do they fit into all of this?

Catherine:

Great question. Some companies offer matching contributions as part of their 401(k) or similar plan – and “match” an employee’s contribution with a company contribution to the employee’s retirement account. The employer match can be very helpful for employees to build their retirement savings.

Al:

Do you have any other insights for job seekers?

Catherine:

Yes. While many companies offer these types of benefits, our research finds that larger companies are typically more likely to do so compared with smaller companies.

Al:

Catherine, thank you for this helpful information. That’s all we have time for today on ClearPath – Your Roadmap to Health and Wealth on WYPR, your NPR news station.
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Clearpath is paid for by The Transamerica Institute.

Al Waller is a long time native of the Baltimore area. He entered the field of Human Resources Management starting as an HR Generalist with PwC (Pricewaterhouse-Coopers). This marked the beginning of a 30 year career that advanced into the management level for locally and globally based corporations. His primary area of expertise has focused on but not limited to: Talent Acquisition /Retention, Employee Relations as well as Training & Development.
Catherine Collinson serves as President of the Transamerica Institute and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, and is a retirement and market trends expert and champion for Americans who are at risk for not achieving a financially secure retirement. Catherine oversees all research and outreach initiatives, including the Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey.