GLOBAL - A survey of HR professionals about the provision of employee benefits in 2009 has revealed retirement provision is now the greatest concern to employees, according to Mercer.

The study looks at several employees benefits and HR issues - from pensions and health provision to hiring talented staff and salary compensation - but found retirement investment is the priority issue for employees.

More specifically, 54% of the HR professionals asked to gauge employee concerns about economic turmoil said there was " a significant level of concern about the impact of economic turmoil on their retirement investments".

Next down the scale of concerns was the health of the company, according to 37% of those questioned, while 34% had "high anxiety" about job security.

In contrast, 83% of those respondents offering defined contribution plans said they do not expect their company to reduce the level of employer contributions.

That said, there is still the 17% who said they are considering "drastic action" to cut employer contributions.

At the same time, 77% said they expect to review investment and administrative fees in 2009, in part because of pressure from regulators and because of a decline in the asset value of pension plans.

A further 75% said they will probably review the fund available for investment while 85% said they will probably improve employee education and communications around investment choices, options and objectives, according to Mercer.

The survey was conducted on 1,,028 human resource and finance professionals representing organisations in more than 100 countries.

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