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Introducing the benefits of balance

Does your benefits strategy support employees in various stages of their lives and across all areas of well-being?

Important information: This information is for scheme sponsors’, trustees’, their advisers’, and consultants’ use only, and should not be relied upon by individual investors.

Fidelity’s global workplace research is helping employers discover the benefits of balance, for them and the women that work for them. The right benefits offerings help women create balance with their life inside and outside work.

Our research shows that less than half (45%) of women surveyed said they are very or extremely satisfied with their job overall and 20% say they are likely to leave their company in the next 6 months, so understanding what women want may help employers retain, engage, and empower a significant segment of their workforce.

What can help with retention?

Leveraging the power of benefits beyond the tangible may help employers with retention. Our research found that 20% of women surveyed say they are likely to leave their company within the next 6 months. While pay is a top reason many women are citing as a reason to leave their company, it isn’t the only one.

Top reasons to leave % of female respondents who say this is a reason to leave their company
Inadequate compensation 26%
Lack of career development 23%
Seeking greater job stability 19%
Poor/uninspiring senior leadership 19%
I don't feel I belong 19%

Questions: How likely are you to leave your organisation in the next 6 months? What are the reason(s) you are likely to leave your current job?
Source: The Fidelity Global Sentiment Survey, 2023

Reasons to stay at a company go beyond tangible benefits

While compensation and other core tangible benefits, like health coverage and retirement contributions, remain important, women value several aspects of their work beyond their base compensation packages.

When looking to stay at a company, intangible benefits and other elements of workplace culture may be key drivers of retention for women. Importantly, work/life balance and other psychological benefits, like building a feeling of connection with others at work or having a sense of autonomy, rank highly among the most commonly selected reasons to stay at a company.

Law scale spot

Work/Life Balance

Paid time off, paid sick leave, work/life balance, stability, job security, and manageable workloads

Teamwork collaboration spot


The need for belonging, acceptance and affiliation with others at work.

Creativity mode spot


The need for volition and choice in the initiation and regulation of behaviour at work.

Certificate degree spot


The need to feel skilled and capable, with opportunities to grow and develop new capabilities.

Love feelings spot


The need for meaning, coherence, and alignment between personal goals/values and one’s work.

Source: The Fidelity Working 9-to-Thrive Report.

Our research shows that the top reasons women say they would stay in a job include a variety of benefits across these areas.

Benefit area Top reasons to stay % of female respondents who endorse this as a reason to stay at their company
Work/Life Balance Stability and job security 85%
Work/Life Balance Paid time off/vacation /sick leave 84%
Connection Positive/supportive relationships with colleagues 83%
Work/Life Balance Work/Life Balance 83%
Work/Life Balance Manageable workload 83%
Connection Positive/supportive relationship with manager 82%
Competence Ability to use skills at work 81%
Purpose Meaningful or fulfilling work 81%
Core Benefits Workplace retirement plan 80%
Work/Life Balance Paid extended leave 77%

Question: On the next several screens are things that people might look for in order to stay with their current organisation. For each of the features you see, please indicate whether or not it is important to you for staying at a job. Features will include compensation, insurance/retirement, time off, other paid benefits, location/balance, work/workload, development, relationships and culture, and fulfilment.
Source: The Fidelity Global Sentiment Survey, 2023

What can help with engagement?

While the proportion of women who say they’ve taken up new benefits has increased, over half of the women who said they have not taken up any new benefits state that their employer did not offer any other programs that were suitable for them.

The proportion of women who say they have taken up new benefits has increased year-on-year since 2021, yet there still is opportunity to grow engagement.

Question: Thinking about the last twelve months, which of the following statements about employee benefits apply to you? I have taken up new employee benefits; I made changes to an existing benefit programme I am in; I have stopped using an employee benefit; I have not taken up any new employee benefits; I made no changes; n/a – my company doesn’t provide any employee benefits; n/a - my company doesn’t offer the possibility for me to make choices around benefits.
Source: The Fidelity Global Sentiment Survey, 2023

Understanding where women are taking up additional benefits may help employers focus their benefits strategies in the areas where support is most wanted.

Most selected areas for new benefits

Question: You mentioned you have taken up new employee benefits in the past twelve months. Do any of the following statements apply to you, I signed up to: a health and wellbeing service; retail discounts and perks; a private health insurance scheme; a life insurance scheme; an employee assistance programme; a private dental healthcare and/or vison scheme a new equity plan; be more engaged with my workplace pension savings and/or retirement programme (e.g. logged in to my pension account/checked balance); workplace retirement savings plan and/or pension; other?
Source: The Fidelity Global Sentiment Survey, 2023

What can help with empowerment?

Providing support that addresses key life events may empower women in both their lives at work and their lives outside of work. Our research shows that women are looking for support from their employer for certain life events including support for illness, job security, and retirement.

Support wanted % of female respondents who would like support through their employer
Short-term illness and injury 32%
Being laid off 29%
Preparing for and living in retirement 26%
Chronic health conditions 23%
Mental health and well-being 22%
Losing a loved one 19%
Learning how to manage finances/money 18%
Learning how to invest 16%
Caring for someone with special needs or disabilities 16%
Caring for aging loved ones 16%

Question: Below are different life events that you may have experienced or may experience in the future.  For each life event, please indicate whether or not you would want support through your employer. Support through your employer may include benefits, workplace policies, information, connection to external experts and services, etc.
Source: The Fidelity Global Sentiment Survey, 2023

Benefits of balance

Benefits in balance support employees in various stages of their lives and across all areas of well-being.

Ensuring you are considering psychological benefits, in addition to tangible benefits, may help to retain and engage female employees.

Employers could consider reviewing how their benefits offerings meet employees' core psychological needs - for autonomy, connection, competence, and purpose.

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