It’s an ‘Arms Race’ of Lavish Job Perks

by Chris Arey

The great resignation and war for talent have brought out the best in employers. From better pay to flexible hours, and resources for managing work/life balance. But, where do they draw the line?

The war for talent, the ‘Great Resignation’ and the challenge of compensating staff in inflationary times all mean that employers are now offering ever more lavish benefits, in a kind of perks arms race.

A new poll commissioned by Trusaic, and conducted by YouGov, ranks the kind of unusual new job benefits that employees would like to see employers offer — including both “Hangover leave” and “Houseplant Bereavement Leave.”

Other unusual job perks employees are looking for include breakup leave, social media detox days and leave for heartsick sports fans. “Some employers already offer ‘pawternity leave’ (paid time off to bond with a new pet) and pet bereavement leave,” says Matt Gotchy, Trusaic’s executive VP of marketing.

So, what do these outlandish job perks say about the current labor market? It shows that employees are looking for more from their employers, and organizations are going to need to deliver on these requests if they want to attract and maintain talent.

While new, creative job perks may be effective in helping organizations differentiate themselves from the competition, research shows that the biggest selling point employees look for in an employer is fair compensation.

Nearly 48 million Americans quit their jobs last year, an all-time record, while studies show there are now two jobs for every one candidate. And while outlandish job perks may be one way to attract and retain talent in such competitive times, Gotchy says employer emphasis on fair pay and pay equity could be even more effective. In fact, the No. 1 HR trend in 2022, according to Harvard Business Review, is that “fairness and equity will be the defining issues for organizations.”

The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance says, “Companies that fail to address pay inequality may not only see reputational damage, but may find themselves at a competitive disadvantage as talent migrates to those companies that prioritize fair pay and opportunities for career advancement.”

study conducted by finds that 75% of employees are more likely to apply for a job that promotes pay transparency. Pay transparency includes things like salary ranges in job listings, organizational certifications that verify pay equity, and general openness around compensation are the signs employees look for when evaluating an employer.

The benefits of paying equitably go beyond attracting and retaining workers too. Organizations experience a wealth of positive business improvements when they prioritize pay equity as a strategic initiative. That same study points out that more than 80% of workers are more productive and involved when they perceive themselves as paid fairly.

“In short,” says Gotchy, “if you want to win the war for talent, pay equity may be one of your best weapons — even maybe more potent than houseplant bereavement leave.”

Some “Fantasy Job Perks” Americans Would Like to Enjoy

Rank Job Perk/Benefit  % Backing
1 Paid celebration recovery leave, alias “Hangover leave” (e.g., paid day off after a wedding, bachelor or bachelorette party, college graduation party, landmark birthday party or celebration of any similarly important rite of passage 23%
2 Free sleep hygiene analysis and a paid/premium subscription to a sleep app 21%
3 “Breakup leave” (compassionate leave when a romantic relationship ends) 17%
4 Free sessions with a Buddhist monk to meditate and/or practice mindfulness 14%
5 Paid hair coloring/ tinting/ dying (for those over 30) 13%
6 Social media detox days (e.g., a paid day off/month to detox from social media) 12%
7 Compassionate leave for heartsick sports fans (e.g., paid day off to recover if/when your team loses in the Superbowl, World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup or final game of any emotionally shattering series/game) 9%
8 Doom-scrolling detox days (a paid day off/month to detox from doom-scrolling) 9%
9 Premium subscription to a dating app of your choice 6%
10 Houseplant bereavement leave (paid day off if one or more of your houseplants dies) 5%
None of these  43%


Trusaic’s poll asked respondents: “Please imagine you were given the choice to select ‘fantasy’ job perks/ benefits (i.e. job perks/benefits that are not currently offered by any employers) that you may like to have, at least in an ideal/ fantasy world … Which, if any, of the following job perks would you like to see offered as an employee benefit?”

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,230 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between July 20 – 22, 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).

Figures for how many millions of Americans support any given perk are arrived at by taking the percentage of poll respondents who support that particular perk and applying it to the total number of U.S. adults in the last U.S. Census.

Trusaic is a leading HR and compliance technology company that focuses on advancing social good in the workplace by solving HR’s most complex challenges across people, data, and compliance. The company’s mission is to create a better working world by helping organizations achieve pay equity, foster a more diverse and inclusive workforce, assist economically disadvantaged individuals with finding work, and ensure employee access to affordable healthcare.

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