Retirement plans’ impact on recruiting and retention in the public market



A number of conclusions regarding the retirement plan’s impact on recruiting and retention can be drawn from the MissionSquare survey results:  

Recruiting and retention should not be looked at as a singular issue. While public employers have seen steady success in hiring, retention has suffered greatly in recent years in the public market. 

The survey does not make the case that an employer’s retirement plan, whatever the design, has a substantial impact on recruiting or retention at all. In fact, the survey shows employers are more focused on employee morale, development, and engagement to enhance retention, along with salary increases. The survey does not suggest that there is a widespread recruiting issue although some positions, including nurses, engineers, and police officers, are more difficult to hire than others. 

Plan sponsors should avoid treating retirement plan design only as a tool for retaining employees. Rather, they should focus on a retirement plan design that realistically meets the needs of a modern workforce. The retirement plan should focus on providing lifetime income in retirement commensurate with the part of a career that an employee spends with a particular employer. The plan should recognize the realities of mobile modern employees and should not penalize employees that do not spend a full career with one employer. 

The survey illustrates that employers are focused on employee wellness as a means to improve retention. It follows that keeping employees happy should also be the focus of the retirement plan. Retention is best addressed by having a retirement plan that addresses the realities of the workforce today, as noted above.  

Author(s): Richard Hiller

Publication Date: 9 Aug 2022

Publication Site: Reason