A recent survey from Nationwide Financial, a division of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, shows that small business owners continue to face significant challenges in the current economy. The study, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Nationwide Financial, surveyed over 500 small business owners in the United States who have 1-100 employees.
Although many small business owners believe the worst of the economic turmoil may be over, most are still reeling from the effects of the economy. Survey respondents indicated that they are more likely to see their own businesses contracting or stagnating rather than growing. As such, they anticipate additional cuts affecting hiring, headcount and pay structure within the next 12-24 months.
Three quarters of the small business owners surveyed agree that we have reached crisis levels with so many Americans being financially unprepared for retirement. However, only 20% offer a 401(k) or a similar retirement plan, and only 10% provide disability insurance that protects worker incomes in the event of a disabling illness or injury.
Other survey responses reveal substantial challenges in the benefits industry. Nearly 25% of respondents said they are likely to shift more benefit costs to their employees. Among those firms without life or disability insurance, less than 10% indicated a likelihood to offer these benefits.
Employee benefits challenges point to opportunities for brokers and insurance companies that can deliver differentiated product offerings to help protect the financial futures of small business employees. In particular, Nationwide Employee BenefitsSM continues to expand its suite of group and voluntary benefits in an effort to provide benefit plans for small business employers and employees who need supplemental coverage.