Almost half (49%) of U.S. workers are at least somewhat likely to look for a job this year, but there is undeniable evidence linking benefits offerings and employee loyalty, according to the 2012 Aflac WorkForces report.

Employees who are extremely or very satisfied with their benefits program are nine times more likely to stay with their employer, compared to those workers who are dissatisfied with their benefits program. Similarly, when asked what their current employer could do to keep them in their jobs, 49% responded, “improve my benefits package.”

Workers are even willing to take a decrease in pay for a better benefits package.

More than 75% of employees believe they’d be at least somewhat likely to accept a job with a more robust benefits package but lower compensation.

Although a strong business case can be made for offering more appealing benefits options that better protect workers, U.S. companies are actually decreasing the amount of ancillary benefits options they offer in 2012. The study found that on average, 10% of companies across the U.S. are decreasing all their ancillary benefits options. Many others are decreasing a portion of their benefits options, leaving employees with fewer choices for coverage and protection.

Additionally, 38% of those likely to look for a new job say that a comprehensive benefits package demonstrates that their employer cares about them. Yet, 57% of respondents say that having a comprehensive overall benefits package will play an important role in a decision to leave a current employer. This reinforces the fact that companies with underperforming or non-comprehensive benefits programs may be in danger of losing important members of their workforce.

Nearly half (42%) of employees under the age of 34 are the most likely to look for a job in the next 12 months, versus 53% of those between the ages of 45 and 64 — who say they are not very or not at all likely to look for a job.

Workers who said they are stressed out are nearly twice as likely (43% vs. 25%) to leave their job compared to workers who are not stressed. Another quarter (28%) of employees who are extremely likely to leave their jobs in the next year say they don’t have peace of mind, reports the survey.

Workers most likely to leave their employers are considering doing so because of financial concerns. Nearly half (49%) believe their families will not be financially secure in the event of an unexpected emergency, and 17% of those looking for a new job believe that the financial condition of their household will worsen in the next 12 months.

Interestingly, the majority (55%) of those not likely to look for a job also say that saving for retirement is the biggest financial challenge facing them in their life right now, as opposed to 78% of those likely to leave their employers who have delayed retirement because they believe they are not financially prepared to leave the workforce.

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