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Annual Study Shows Wide Majority of Employees Want Workplace Support for Financial Challenges

  • Data from Morgan Stanley at Work indicates workplace benefits remain key driver of engagement and retention for employees
  • While HR leaders are improving their offerings, opportunities remain to close gaps in addressing employee needs

Morgan Stanley at Work today issued new data from its fourth annual State of the Workplace Financial Benefits Study. Findings underscore the strategic importance of workplace financial benefits in driving financial outcomes for both companies and employees amid a shifting economic backdrop:

  • Employees want employers to help with their financial challenges: Most (91%) HR leaders suspect employees are facing financial hardships, up from 86% in 2021. And nearly half of employees (46%) agree they have experienced financial crises or issues with financial management in the past year, with roughly 4 out of 5 (81%) saying they want their employers to be more involved in helping them through specific financial challenges.
  • Financial benefits continue to drive retention and engagement: Roughly 9 in 10 HR leaders (87%) believe comprehensive financial benefits are a key factor for employees in deciding to stay or leave for another job—an 8% increase since 2021. Employees concur, with 71% very or extremely interested in accepting a new job if the company provides the financial benefits they need.
  • Benefits awareness is needed: Despite the desire for greater financial support at work, a third (32%) of employees say they have never thought to reach out to their companies for help, and 85% believe their company needs to do a better job explaining how to maximize the financial benefits offered. Most (96%) of HR leaders agree.
  • HR leaders believe more work needs to be done: While a majority of HR executives (54%) feel their company is making some progress in offering financial benefits to employees—a 10-point increase since last year—they also feel it’s not enough to meet demand. In fact, about 4 out of 5 (82%) say employees have asked for specific financial benefits their company does not offer, indicating the importance of more comprehensive solutions.
  • AI stands poised to affect workplace financial benefits: More than 8 in 10 (82%) employees who work at companies offering financial benefits expect AI to transform their benefits experience, and nearly all HR executives (98%) agree.

“Since we first fielded this study in 2021, each year has seen employees and employers face dramatic shifts in economic climate. Yet a clear constant throughout our research has been the theme that financial benefits are a strategic priority,” said Scott Whatley, Head of Morgan Stanley at Work. “To better support employees, employers need comprehensive solutions that are both scalable and can also cater to the high touch, complex needs of executives—and HR leaders agree more can be done, including exploring emerging technologies. With so much in motion, the choices companies make in terms of the quality and scope of their offering will continue to have an outsize business impact.”

“On the heels of building a dynamic, world-class wealth management ecosystem, we are able serve corporates and their participants at all stages of their respective financial journeys—from startups to multinationals, and from first-year employees to executives,” said Brian McDonald, Head of Direct and Institutional Businesses. “These findings underline that the need for comprehensive workplace solutions—delivered at scale—remains a top priority.”

Additional details are available in Morgan Stanley at Work’s State of the Workplace Study here. As part of a series of findings from Morgan Stanley at Work’s fourth annual study, the business will also publish its findings on equity benefits and retirement benefits in the coming weeks.

Methodology: The data from the Morgan Stanley at Work Employees Survey and HR Leaders Survey comes from a survey of 1,000 U.S.-employed adults and 600 HR leaders for companies. The survey was conducted on behalf of Morgan Stanley at Work using an email invitation and an online survey between February 5 and February 12, 2024, by Wakefield Research (

About Morgan Stanley at Work 

Morgan Stanley at Work provides workplace financial benefits that build financial confidence and foster loyalty—helping companies attract and retain top talent. Our end-to-end solutions support your organization at any stage of growth through a powerful combination of modern technology, insightful guidance, and dedicated service; they include Equity, Retirement, Deferred Compensation, Executive Services, and Saving and Giving solutions. And while we’re fulfilling your company’s benefits needs, we’re also enhancing your employees’ financial well-being. Each benefit solution also includes our engaging Financial Wellness program, which provides employees with knowledge, tools, and support to help them make the most of their benefits and achieve their life goals.

About Morgan Stanley Wealth Management 

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management is a leading financial services firm that provides access to a wide range of products and services to individuals, businesses, and institutions, including brokerage and investment advisory services, financial and wealth planning, cash management and lending products and services, annuities and insurance, retirement, and trust services.

About Morgan Stanley 

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing a wide range of investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in 41 countries, the Firm’s employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For further information about Morgan Stanley, please visit

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Morgan Stanley Wealth Management is the trade name of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, a registered broker-dealer in the United States.

© 2024 Morgan Stanley at Work and Shareworks services are provided by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, member SIPC, and its affiliates, all wholly owned subsidiaries of Morgan Stanley.


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