Perks dwindling, but you can still drive and fly

By BenefitsPro

By Dan Cook

The corporate powers-that-be have decided that belonging to a fancy private club no longer serves a business purposes. But jetting around the world on the company aircraft apparently does.

These are among the conclusions from a Towers Watson survey of trends in company perquisites proffered to top executives. The survey compared perks offered in 2008 to those offered today offered to executives at 332 Fortune 500 companies.

“Companies have pared back the types of perquisites offered to executives in recent years, especially transportation-related benefits. However, perk reductions have not been across the board, and perks continue to play a meaningful role in attracting and retaining key employees,” Towers Watson said.

Overall, the percentage of companies offering executive perks dropped by 10 percent, to 85 percent, from 2008 to 2013, establishing a perks trend for top talent that mirrors the health coverage trend for the troops. Among the highlights of the survey results:
  • Biggest drop was recorded in supplemental life insurance plans: a decrease of more than 50 percent, to 24 percent in 2013, compared to 52 percent in 2008.

  • Loving your country club? Better ask for a raise to cover your dues. The percent of companies paying for greens fees and drinks at the bar fell from 24 percent to 12 percent.

  • In 2008, 25 percent of employers offered a home security perk for their valued talent. This year, just 14 percent paid for alarm systems and armed guards.
Other areas of large decline were misleading.
  • Percent of companies offering a company car or allowance for one fell from 49 percent to 37 percent, but remained the second-most common perk offered after financial/tax planning.

  • Personal use of aircraft fell from 53 percent to 36 percent but was No. 3 behind financial planning and aircraft use.
Only three perks saw an uptick, according to the survey.
  • Coverage for an executive physical rose from 22 percent to 32 percent.

  • Payment for spousal travel inched up from 20 percent to 21 percent.

  • And housing allowance — dead last both in 2008 and 2013 on the perks list — rose from 3 percent to 4 percent.
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