-- Companies Must Balance Rising Cost While Meeting Growing Employee Expectations --

Companies in Latin America are looking to employee benefit programs to increase employee productivity and attract and retain talent in a highly competitive business environment, according to a new study released today by MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET).

The MetLife Latin America Employee Benefits Trends Study (LatAm EBTS), released today, surveyed employees and employers in Brazil, Chile and Mexico to gain insights into employee loyalty, talent retention and productivy. According to the study, a majority of employers in all three countries – 99% in Mexico, 87% in Chile and 85% in Brazil – said that offering benefits is tied to their efforts to increase employee productivity. This is an increasingly important outcome as companies in Latin America want to stay competitive with other emerging markets, an ongoing challenge that cuts across the entire region.

Mindful of a tight labor market in Latin America, especially for skilled workers, managers in Mexico (98%), Brazil (90%), and Chile (88%) agreed that “increasing employee job satisfaction” is a top employer objective for offering benefits. This marked a 7% increase for both Brazil and Mexico since being surveyed in the 2011 MetLife International EBTS, highlighting the growing need to attract and retain talent. And employees agree that benefits are critical for job satisfaction – among employees with benefits, 80% of Chileans, 79% of Mexicans and 57% of Brazilians said they were satisfied with their job. This drops an average of 15% among employees in both Chile and Mexico who do not receive employer-paid benefits.

“Local, multilatina and multinational employers in Latin America face a competitive environment where success is dependent upon maximizing worker productivity, winning the war for talent, and retaining valued employees,” said Maria Morris, executive vice president, Global Employee Benefits, MetLife. “Our study provides insights into the strategies and goals of employers facing these demands, while at the same time, highlights the growing concerns and expectations of workers in Brazil, Chile and Mexico.”

MetLife’s LatAm EBTS also found that there is a strong correlation between employees who are provided benefits and those employees who feel “a strong sense of loyalty to my employer.” Eighty percent of Chilean employees agreed with this statement, as did 72% of Brazilian and 70% of Mexican employees. The study also found that loyalty drops an average of 20% among employees in both Chile and Mexico who do not receive employer-paid benefits.

Potential Headwinds: Rising Costs and Expectations

As employers across Latin America look to leverage employee benefits as a way to improve performance and attract and retain talent, companies are facing potentially strong headwinds as they seek to balance the rising cost of benefits and the growing expectations of their employees. A large majority of companies surveyed said that controlling the cost of health and welfare benefits is a top concern (94% in Mexico, 85% in Chile and 82% in Brazil). This is an increase for both Mexico (87%) and Brazil (78%) since the the 2011 MetLife International EBTS.

At the same time, employees in Brazil, Chile and Mexico are grappling with growing financial concerns and are looking to their employers for help. Despite millions of Latin Americans achieving a middle class standard of living¹, four in ten Chilean and Mexican workers, and three in ten Brazilian workers, say they live “paycheck to paycheck.”

Employees in these three countries also reported that having enough money to cover expenses during a sudden income loss (due to job loss, disability or illness); having enough money to pay for their children’s education or for good child care; having adequate healthcare; job security; and outliving one’s money in retirement were all common concerns.

“Markets in Latin America are continuing to develop, and companies need to strike a balance between controlling benefit costs and meeting the increased expectations of their workers in order to stay competitive,” said Oscar Schmidt, executive vice president, Latin America, MetLife. “Employees in Brazil, Chile and Mexico are looking to their employers to provide them with robust benefit options and more choice in voluntary benefits.”

It does appear that both companies and employees may find common ground through voluntary benefits programs (where the employee pays all or part of the benefit), the study found. More than half of companies surveyed in Brazil, Chile and Mexico plan to add protection, health and financial products as voluntary benefits in the next two years.

Employees in these countries are increasingly receptive to paying for all, or part, of certain benefits to improve their lives. Half of employees surveyed expressed an interest in a wider variety of voluntary benefits options. Nearly half of Brazilian workers are interested in adding to their retirement savings with a supplemental pension plan, while life, accidental death and disability are of more interest to Chileans and Mexicans.

Employees in all three countries also rate very highly the option to pay for benefits via payroll deduction, which could lead to more discipline around achieving savings goals.

The MetLife Latin America Employee Benefits Trends Study is the third international edition of MetLife’s Employee Benefits Trends Study. Mexico was included in both the 2007 and 2011 study and Brazil was included in 2011. To download the 2013 MetLife Latin America Employee Benefits Trends Study, please visit


The MetLife Latin America Employee Benefits Trends Study was conducted from April to June 2013 by GfK. The employer survey was comprised of 250 employers in Brazil, 250 employers in Chile and 200 employers in Mexico with 50+ employees. The employee sample was comprised of 500 employees in Brazil, 301 employees in Chile, and 434 employees in Mexico. The targeted sample for each country was designed to appropriately represent the full-time employee population base. Results were obtained through face-to-face, telephone and online interviews

About GfK
GfK is one of the world’s largest research companies, with more than 11,500 experts working to discover new insights into the way people live, think and shop, in over 100 markets, every day. GfK is constantly innovating and using the latest technologies and the smartest methodologies to give its clients the clearest understanding of the most important people in the world: their customers.

About MetLife
MetLife, Inc. is a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit


¹ Source: Economic Mobility and the Rise of Latin American Middle Class, The World Bank Report 2012


Brenda C. Mendoza