More than a Third of Plans Have Match Rate of 100%

More than one-third of 401(k) plans (36%) have a match rate of 100%, an increase over the 26% of plans offering such a benefit in 2002, according to a new Mercer Human Resource Consulting report.

The Mercer analysis of the benefit programs of more than 1,025 U.S. employers, 90% of which offer a 401(k) or 403(b) plan, indicates that the majority of organizations now offer pretax retirement savings plans with nine out of 10 sponsoring a 401(k) or 403(b) plan, according to the announcement.

In other benefits data, in terms of the relative value of employee benefits overall, including health care coverage, retirement and time loss, Mercer said nonprofit organizations (including civic and professional associations, religious organizations and major foundations) offer the highest level of total benefits at $35,300 or 131% of the market median, followed by government employers at $34,100 or 127% of the market median. The lowest levels were seen in accommodation and food services, at $19,300, 72% of the market median, and retail, which was at 75% of the market median with total benefits of $20,300.

“Benefit costs have been escalating to an unsustainable level and many employers are making tough decisions to reduce the level of benefits offered,” said Jennifer Calhoun, a principal with Mercer Health & Benefits. “In general, they’re placing less value on benefits that are beyond marketplace norms. They’re realizing that benefits at standard levels are just as effective for attracting and retaining top talent.’

Mercer’s Spotlight on Benefits can be purchased online at or by calling 800-333-3070.