New MetLife Pet Insurance1 survey finds three in four working pet parents are concerned about finances as many anticipate an impact to their pet’s routine when they return to the office
As millions of employees across the U.S. anticipate a potential return to in-person work, those who are pet parents—including many who participated in the more than 2 million adoptions of dogs and cats from shelters last year2—have some additional concerns beyond missing their favorite furry colleague. According to MetLife Pet Insurance’s new Pet Parent Pulse Survey, three in four (74 percent) working pet parents are thinking about pet care costs during this transition, while nearly all (95 percent) anticipate that a transition back to the office will cause a change in their pet’s routine, or otherwise impact their pet’s overall health.
The survey found working pet parents are concerned about the expenses associated with their pet’s health care should something go wrong (40 percent) and the cost to prepare their pet for this transition (34 percent). Younger workers are particularly worried about this—with 85 percent of Gen Z and 76 percent of millennial respondents, respectively, having some level of concern over these potential expenses (compared to 37 percent of baby boomers).
“In one way or another, all employees will likely experience either personal or professional adjustments once they enter this next phase of work—but for those who are pet parents, these considerations don’t end with employees and their human families,” said Katie Blakeley, vice president and head of MetLife Pet Insurance. “For employees with pets, pet care and overall pet health are often top-of-mind and employers need to consider this as they reimagine the workplace experience.”
Working pet parents share pet-related anxieties about return-to-office
Employees are anticipating that when they return to in-person work, their furry loved ones may feel an impact, including disrupting their routine (26 percent), making them anxious (24 percent) or stressed (24 percent), causing them to act out (24 percent), or disrupting their eating routine (23 percent).
To combat these potential issues, 38 percent of working pet parents are planning to invest in additional support (e.g., a pet sitter, pet daycare), 29 percent are planning to adjust their work hours and one in four (23 percent) are planning to take a pay cut to work remotely and care for their pet. One in five (20 percent), meanwhile, are considering bringing their pet back to the shelter or finding it a new home entirely.
The case for rethinking employer-offered pet benefits
According to MetLife Pet Insurance’s survey, inadequate pet benefits are also a leading reason that working pet parents want to change jobs in today’s environment. In fact, more than two-thirds (67 percent) are actively searching or considering changing jobs, with more than half (51 percent) saying their current employer does not offer adequate pet benefits and it has an impact on their decision.
With working pet parents feeling increasingly stressed over the impact that eventually returning to in-person work could have on their pets, employers should consider bolstering their pet-related offerings—particularly as seven in 10 employees (71 percent) either want or expect their employer to offer resources to help address this transition and three in 10 (29 percent) don’t believe their employer will actually do so. Specifically, respondents to MetLife Pet Insurance’s survey ranked pet insurance (51 percent) and flexible work hours (45 percent) among the top benefits that would have the greatest impact of their decision to take a new job.
“When considering benefits to help attract and retain employees, employers should keep in mind that many of today’s employees are pet parents with financial apprehensions around the impact this eventual transition will have on their pets’ well-being,” said Blakeley. “In the end, offering comprehensive benefits that meet all employees’ needs is a surefire way to maintain an engaged, productive, and happy workforce.”
To help employees and employers work through the return to office, MetLife Pet Insurance created “A Return to Office Guide for Pet Paw-Rents” and “An Employers Guide for Welcoming Pet Owners Back to the Office” available now for anyone to download.
On behalf of MetLife, CITE Research (www.citeresearch.com) conducted an online survey among 1,000 U.S. adult employees who are dog/cat parents in June 2021. Respondents were screened to be between 18-62 years of age; a full-time employee; own cats, dogs or both; and have worked remotely at least part of the pandemic (but not permanently).
About CITE Research
CITE Research Inc. is a tactical global market research firm specializing in quantitative and qualitative market research. We empower our clients with dynamic research targeting the platforms that matter most for brands on a global scale. A strategic partner to Fortune 500, non-profits and start-ups, our research solutions help companies reach and engage consumers, influencers, customers, analysts, and media. For more information, please call 646-206-9017 or visit www.citeresearch.com.
MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), through its subsidiaries and affiliates ("MetLife"), is one of the world's leading financial services companies, providing insurance, annuities, employee benefits and asset management to help its individual and institutional customers navigate their changing world. Founded in 1868, MetLife has operations in more than 40 countries and holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.
About MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions, LLC
Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.
1 MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions, LLC, a MetLife company
2 Shelter Animals Count, Data Dashboards, 2020
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