Small Business Retirement Survey

Q&A with John Scott, director of Pew’s retirement savings project

The Pew Charitable Trusts’ retirement savings project hired ICF International Inc., a private research firm, to conduct its Small Business Retirement Survey, a 2016 poll of decision-makers at small to midsize private sector enterprises. Below, John Scott, project director, answers questions about the effort.

What is The Pew Charitable Trusts?

Pew is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. Informed by the founders’ interest in research, practical knowledge and a robust democracy, our portfolio of work has grown to include state policy, consumer finance, environment, and health initiatives, as well as public opinion research and arts and culture efforts.

What is ICF International?

ICF is a private research company based in the Washington metro area. ICF has conducted surveys for federal and state government agencies, as well as commercial and nonprofit organizations, for 40 years.

What is the Small Business Retirement Survey (SBRS)?

The SRBS is designed to collect information from businesses in the United States with five to 250 employees about whether they offer retirement benefits and what they provide specifically, as well as what employers see as the advantages and challenges in offering such benefits.

What sorts of questions are asked?

In addition to questions about the types of retirement benefits offered, the survey seeks general information about small businesses, such as the number of employees and industry. It also asks about challenges to providing retirement benefits.

Should a business that does not offer any employee benefits complete the survey?

We want to interview all kinds of small businesses, including those that do not offer retirement plans, because it is important to learn about the barriers that employers face in implementing retirement packages.

If a company has fewer than five or more than 250 employees, will it be included?

No. We are only conducting interviews with for-profit small businesses with five to 250 employees.

How long will the survey take to complete?

For most people, the survey takes about 20 minutes to complete.

How did ICF get my telephone number?

Our sample was obtained from an independent list of businesses maintained by a separate company. Study participants are contacted using the phone numbers listed with the sample vendor.

Why participate?

Pew is studying the perceptions of small businesses on employee retirement plans and will publish a report summarizing the findings. Policymakers around the country are considering proposals aimed at increasing access to retirement plans and it is important for small business owners to be a part of that discussion. The more people who participate in the study, the more accurate the results will be. If too few take part, the data will be less reliable. We would like your help to make the survey as accurate as possible.

Is this information confidential?

Yes. We will not report individual names of organizations or employees or any associated addresses or telephone numbers. All the information provided will be combined with other responses and reported only in the aggregate without any personal identifying information.

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