The Most Desired Benefits and Perks Across Industries

by Katie Sawyer, 5 minutes read
HOME blog most desired benefits perks across industries

In today’s world, there’s a lot of competition among companies to attract quality employees. Employees are also demanding more, and often rightfully so. A paycheck alone is no longer the only thing a company needs to woo a great employee. That’s why benefits and perks have become the norm.

But which benefits and perks do Americans prefer—and how can employers stand out? Do different industries place greater emphasis on certain perks? Keep reading to find out.


To get our answers, we surveyed 1,035 participants across America in November 2021. Questions ranged from benefit and perk preferences to current benefits and perks to what perks would get employees to leave their job.

Here’s what they said.

The most desired benefit and perk by industry

We surveyed workers from a wide variety of industries, from Arts and Entertainment to Construction to Retail to Hospitality. The number one desired perk? Health benefits. The vast majority of workers surveyed just want to have the peace of mind that if they or a loved one’s health is in jeopardy, their workplace will help out with the bill.

There was one industry in which health benefits were trumped by another, though. For those in Sales, money was on the brain. Sales workers said they prefer financial benefits over those related to health.

The top three perks respondents said were a must are those related to the office environment, family, and health and wellness. Office environment perks include things like casual dress code, game rooms, company retreats, happy hours, and unlimited PTO. These things were most important to those in Computer Software and Electronics and Arts and Entertainment industries.

Health and wellness perks like healthy food options, ergonomic desks, and required breaks were favored by the Telecommunications, Legal Services, and Law Enforcement industries.

Most industries, though, put the biggest emphasis on family-related work perks. This includes needs like parental leave, flexible hours, remote working options, nursing rooms, onsite daycare, and scholarship programs.

Industries with the highest rating of current benefits and perks

Unfortunately, many respondents aren’t happy with their current perks and benefits at work. When we asked workers from our surveyed industries to rate their current benefits and perks on a scale from one to five with five being the best, no industry even made it to a four.

The Telecommunications industry actually came in highest, giving their current work benefits and perks a score of 3.3. Finance, Insurance, and Manufacturing all came in right behind at 3.2. Industries like Legal Services, Transportation, Education, and Construction came in somewhere in the middle.

The bottom few — those most displeased with their benefits and perks — were Tourism and Hospitality, Retail, Arts and Entertainment, and Marketing. They came in at 2.3, 2.2, 2.1, and 2.0 respectively.

Could it be that these low-scoring industries truly experience measly benefits and perks, or are they accustomed to more and have higher expectations? That required us to figure out what makes for great work perks.

Would you stay in your job for the right perk?

What qualifies as a great work perk has a lot to do with marital status, parental status, and whether an employee is paid hourly or annually. Overall, four benefits topped the list as the perk that would make them stick with their job if offered. Those were:

  • Remote work on a regular basis (27.63%)

  • Unlimited PTO (26.87%)

  • Flexible hours (24.33%)

  • Paid insurance premiums (21.17%)

Flexible hours were the priority for those who are married or have children, while those who are single and without kids want more PTO. Hourly workers also want more PTO, while salaried employees are all about the option to work remotely.

Where do Americans stand?

Lastly, we looked at some interesting numbers that came up around what Americans want when it comes to work benefits and work. The most interesting finds were:

  • 81.7% of respondents prefer a 401K to student loan assistance.

  • 71.4% would rather have a higher salary than unlimited PTO.

  • 55.2% prefer great coworkers to great perks.

  • 78% said they would work longer hours for better benefits.

  • 87% reported that if they loved a job, they’d take it even without desired benefits.

  • 75% said they would stay at a company that doesn't have their desired benefits or perks as long as they’re paid well enough.

It seems it’s not all about benefits and added perks, but clearly, they do help when it comes to job satisfaction.

The secret perks at work

Environmental, health, and family perks are some of the most coveted by American employees in any industry. If your employees are left wanting (and our data shows that many are), Deputy can help.

Deputy’s workforce management software helps companies more effectively engage employees by focusing on the perks they actually want—all while making life easier for managers. Easily manage PTO, put parental leave into practice, and provide unprecedented flexibility to staff. When everyone has the power to swap shifts, manage their own flexibility, and take the breaks they need during the day to bring their A-game, they come together as a happier, more engaged team.

Curious how we can help you increase your employees’ job satisfaction while making things easier on you? Check out our solutions.