Photo credit: <a href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=721">Renjith Krishnan</a>

Most workers identify access to a workplace retirement plan and life insurance as either important or extremely important as an occupational benefit, according to a new report.

The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies published this finding “The Changing Face of Retirement – The Workplace Perspective,” a study conducted in collaboration with AEGON N.V. and based on responses of 9,000 people from the U.S. and 8 European countries. The second installment of an AEGON Retirement Readiness Survey, the report assesses the role of employers, workplace retirement benefits, and workers.

Of the 9,000 respondents surveyed more than half identify access to a workplace place retirement plan with employer contributions as important (34%) or extremely important (36%). Likewise, just over half of the respondents identify life insurance as important (24%) or extremely important (28%) among workplace benefits.

The occupational benefits accorded higher priority by the respondents include basic salary (89% rated this important or extremely important), holiday entitlement (81%), location of workplace (78%), bonus pay and overtime (74%) and medical health insurance (66%).

By country, nearly half (49%) of U.S. workers describe access to a workplace retirement with employer contributions as extremely important, the survey states. This compares to 44%, 42% and 37%, respectively, of workers in Poland, the U.K. and France.

When asked what employers should do to help their workers plan for retirement, more than four in ten (44%) say that employers “should be required to contribute” to a retirement plan. Fewer respondents say that employers should (1) provide a range of flexible benefits and allow individuals to choose among them (2) be required to make a pension available or not contribute, and (3) not be required to provide a pension, but should provide information on planning for retirement.

Nearly eight in ten (78%) U.S. workers either somewhat agree (31%) or strongly agree (47%) that company pensions should be a basic part of a worker’s pay and conditions. This compares with 76%, 74% and 73% of workers in the U.K, The Netherlands and Germany, respectively, the report reveals.