National Survey Reveals Americans Prefer a Night in Jail to Losing Job Benefits Study Shows Benefits Outweigh Location in a Decision to Take a Job

Nov 15, 2012, 08:00 ET from

OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --, a leading online brand for questions and answers, today announced the results of its job benefits study, conducted online by Harris Interactive among U.S. adults during the month of October. The 2012 State of the Workplace: Benefits and Perks study reveals that 95 percent of Americans weigh job benefits and perks before deciding to either stay put or take a new position. Benefits such as health insurance, 401K matching, paid time off and life insurance are so critical, more than half of U.S. workers (60 percent) would rather spend a night in jail than go without.

"Our goal here was to get a national view of what potential recruits value most, while pinpointing how job seekers in the West might differ," said Lisa Ross, vice president of human resources at "While it's clear that perks like free massages resonate with Westerners in particular, they pale in comparison to the value all Americans put on benefits like paid life insurance and tuition assistance."

Healthcare: Worth Sleeping in the Slammer?
Benefits and perks are so coveted, Americans say they're worth a night behind bars. Men (64 percent) are more likely to indicate this than women (56 percent).

  • U.S. adults (77 percent) list health insurance as the benefit that most factors into their employment decision.
    • Surprisingly, those without children (80 percent) are more likely to choose health insurance than those with children in the household (70 percent).
  • Other benefits that topped the list for Americans include:
    • Retirement/401K matching (69 percent)
    • Paid time off (66 percent)
    • Life insurance (54 percent)
    • Ease of commute/proximity to transportation (49 percent)
    • Stock options (39 percent)
    • Tuition assistance (35 percent)

More Me Time, Please!
Americans are also protective of personal time, actively seeking employers invested in their health and well-being.

  • More than a third said unlimited paid time off (PTO), telecommuter flexibility, and access to a free on-site gym/fitness center would encourage them to take or keep a job (34 percent each).
  • American workers despise time wasted in gridlock. Half of respondents base their decision on a job on how close it is to public transportation, or the ease of the commute (49 percent).

Unlimited Vacation…For Real?
Unlimited PTO is gaining traction with companies such as Netflix, Zynga and embracing the concept. But how do Americans feel?

  • Sixty-nine percent said they would be swayed to take a new job if the company offered unlimited PTO.
  • Unlimited PTO matters more to single people (42 percent) than those who are married (30 percent) or divorced (27 percent).
  • Is it really unlimited? Nearly half of U.S. adults (48 percent) worry about how much personal time they can actually take from their job.

Surprise…What Else They Want

  • Western adults (21 percent) are more likely to be encouraged to take or keep a job with an on-site masseuse than those in the Northeast and South (14 percent and 12 percent, respectively).
  • A job that comes with a clothing allowance is a big draw for many (26 percent), more so than a childcare subsidy or onsite childcare (22 percent).
  • Younger adults (18-34 -year-olds) are more likely to want a nap room (24 percent), free dry cleaning (19 percent), and a personal shopper (16 percent) than adults 35 and older.
  • Offering weekend trips planned for employees and their families on anniversaries and birthdays can also sway job seekers (18 percent).

"Silicon Valley companies are known for offering unusual perks like onsite haircuts and laundry service, which are nice-to-haves," said Ross. "But at the end of the day, what American workers value most are employers committed to their health and well-being and those who are actively invested in their overall quality of life." also released an infographic here detailing the benefits of adopting an unlimited PTO policy, a benefit the company offers.

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Survey Methodology  This survey was conducted online within the United States between October 11-15, 2012 among 2,094 adults (aged 18 and over) by Harris Interactive on behalf of via its QuickQuery omnibus product. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.