For Employees, Small Is Beautiful

Workers at large corporations worry more about their benefits and futures, according to a new survey

People who work for smaller businesses feel more secure than their counterparts at large corporations, according to a recent survey. Some 51% of employees at outfits with between 11 and 500 workers say they are "not at all concerned" that benefits might be downsized, vs. just 27% of workers at larger businesses who feel the same way.

"Given the visibility of recent layoffs by several prominent companies, it's not surprising that employees of smaller companies might place more trust in their futures," says Dan Houston, senior vice-president of the Principal Financial Group, a provider and manager of some employee benefits, which sponsored the study.

Despite their confidence in stable benefits, small-company employees are hardly free from worry. Some 85% reported being "very concerned" about their financial futures. Other findings of the quarterly survey of 1,000 employees nationwide, conducted by Harris Interactive:

-- 86% of those with retirement savings, mainly in a 401(k) invested in stocks, say they won't switch to more stable investments, despite the fluctuating stock market.

-- 59% are not satisfied with their finances.

-- 27% said they have not yet planned for their retirement.

By Theresa Forsman in New York

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