NU Online News Service, Dec. 14, 2004, 5:18 p.m. EST

Employees at small businesses may value retirement benefits more than their employers realize.[@@]

Researchers at the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, Los Angeles, have published figures supporting that conclusion in a report on a survey of 601 U.S. employers conducted between August and October and a survey of 1,201 U.S. full-time employees conducted around the same time.

Transamerica, a unit of AEGON N.V., The Hague, Netherlands, classified businesses with 10 to 499 employees as small businesses and other businesses as large businesses.

Although 75% of the small business owners said they believed 401(k) plans or similar retirement plans were very important to their workers, 92% of employees of small businesses said 401(k) plans were very important.

About 54% of small business employees said they would choose a job that provided excellent retirement benefits but a salary that was barely adequate over a job that provided an excellent salary but fewer retirement benefits.

About 55% of the small business employees who had no access to retirement plans said they were at least somewhat likely to leave their jobs to take similar jobs that offered better retirement benefits.

The survey also found that large employers spend more time picking retirement plan investment options and that members of plans at large employers spend more time monitoring their 401(k) plan accounts.