Latest Hot Topic Survey Shows Companies are Getting Creative to Compete for Top Talent

November 12, 2018
Press Release
Recruiting & Hiring
Talent Management
Total Rewards
Read time: 3 mins
Susan Fronk, President and CEO
Susan Fronk, President and CEO

Media Contact

Kathryn Klopfer, Marketing Communications & PR Specialist | 262.696.3426

Latest Hot Topic Survey Shows Companies are Getting Creative to Compete for Top Talent

MILWAUKEE, WI (November 12, 2018) – MRA’s just released Hot Topic Survey on compensation shows companies are getting creative when it comes to compensating and competing for top talent. Competitive pay is the greatest attractor; however, companies are using innovative rewards and unique benefits, in addition to base pay, to offer more robust total compensation packages.

"Benefits are a powerful tool to recruit, retain and reward employees," said Susan Fronk, MRA President and CEO. "Pay alone is simply not enough. 'Unique and emerging benefits' are the new buzz words in the compensation conversation."

The MRA Hot Topic Survey suggests a comprehensive total rewards package including traditional and non-traditional benefits, along with variable pay is what top employees want.

The survey found the Top Five Unique/Emerging Benefits organizations currently offer are:

  1. Career development training 74%
  2. Casual or no dress code 69%
  3. Flexible work hours 59%
  4. Automatic retirement contribution 52%
  5. Lactation support rooms/services 47%

The Top Five Unique/Emerging Benefits that organizations are considering include:

  1. Community service PTO 37%
  2. Club discounts 26%
  3. Wellness programs 23%
  4. Student loan forgiveness/refinancing /repayment 21%
  5. Automatic retirement contribution 19%

In addition, organizations also offer or are considering: 100% company paid insurance premiums, 401k student loan repayment, auto/home discounts, bring pets to work policies, bicycle commuting reimbursements, free or reduced health/wellness services, free trash service, free UBER, free uniforms/safety equipment, fresh produce in break room, pet daycare, self-defense classes, shareable PTO, and vacation purchase packages.

Seventy-three percent of respondents agree that variable pay, which is pay that is often based on outstanding or exemplary performance, is another form of compensation to enhance pay packages and important in recruiting, retaining and rewarding employees. Annual incentive plans top the list of variable pay options, followed by spot bonuses (holiday/annual/quarterly/monthly), profit sharing, commission, and group or team bonuses which are included in the five most utilized types of variable pay.

Added Fronk, "In today’s highly competitive talent marketplace, employers must be more creative to win."

For full survey results, visit, and see the "Compensation Besides Base Pay Survey."

About MRA—The Management Association
Founded in 1901, MRA is a nonprofit employer association that serves 4,000 employers, covering more than one million employees worldwide. As one of the largest employer associations in the nation, MRA helps its members thrive by offering comprehensive HR services, talent management, learning and organization development opportunities, and total rewards planning. MRA works to help organizations build a successful workplace and powerful workforce. Headquartered in Waukesha, WI, MRA has regional offices in Palatine, IL, Moline, IL and Plymouth, MN.