Attract & Retain

Stock Plan Benefits Can Be A Competitive Advantage

With the ever-evolving labor market of recent years, people and companies have been scrambling to adjust. From the Great-Resignation in 2020 to the Great Re-hire in 2021, 2023 could be the year of the “Great Retention”, as focus shifts to creating and maintaining employee loyalty

Morgan Stanley at Work Unveils Insights from New Stock Plan Participant Survey. Additional findings from the Second Annual Morgan Stanley at Work Stock Plan Participant study are available here.

January 19, 2023 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time–NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Morgan Stanley at Work today released findings from its annual Stock Plan Participant Survey, showing that amid a highly competitive labor market, equity compensation continues to be a critical tool to attract and retain talent.

This survey provides fresh insights about the participant experience, perceived value and overall benefits of their company’s equity plans.


Among the notable findings from the study:

  • The power of equity compensation to recruit and retain talent increased: Participant views about the value of stock plan benefits increased year-over-year, with 45% citing stock plan benefits as a reason they joined their company (up 4% pts.) and 60% as a reason they have stayed (up 2% pts.).
  • Professional guidance is highly sought after: Over two-thirds (67%) of participants said that if their company offered access to financial professionals to help with investing-related questions they would use this benefit, while nearly as many (65%) said they would seize the opportunity to work with a Financial Advisor for comprehensive financial planning if offered through the workplace. In addition, access to financial coaching on topics such as budgeting, credit and debt management ranked third (53%) as a benefit they would be most likely to use.
  • While progress has been made, the majority still do not understand tax implications and other important information. More participants say they understand key topics like how taxes impact stock plan benefits (39%, up from 34%), how to maximize the financial benefit from their stock plan benefits (38%, up from 33%), and how to seek guidance (46%, up from 41%), but the majority still struggle—demonstrating that while education efforts have helped, there is still more work to do.
  • Participants are looking for educational content around equity, retirement and investing. Respondents reported they were somewhat or very likely to attend education sessions on stock plan benefits (70%), retirement (68%), advanced investing (67%), investing (60%) and general financial wellness (57%).

“Amid a continuing tight labor market, it is not surprising that while equity valuations have decreased, the value participants place on equity compensation has increased and remains a competitive workplace benefit to attract and retain top talent and drive employee satisfaction,” said Scott Whatley, Managing Director and Global Head of Equity Solutions, Morgan Stanley at Work. “Education and guidance remain key to help both employers and their participants unlock the full potential of their stock plan benefits, as there is no better way to reap the full rewards of your plan than by ensuring the participant population fully understands and embraces it.”

Invested At Work

Morgan Stanley at Work launched a new thought leadership podcast called, Invested at Work, covering all things workplace financial benefits. Click here to learn more about the podcast, guests, and hear the first episode focused on employee wellbeing during uncertain times.




The data from the Morgan Stanley at Work 2022 Annual Stock Plan Participant Survey comes from an in-house survey of 86,000 Morgan Stanley and E*TRADE active, U.S. domestic stock plan participants. The survey was conducted on behalf of Morgan at Stanley at Work using an online survey between September 22 and October 4, 2022.
About Morgan Stanley at Work
Morgan Stanley at Work offers a suite of financial solutions, which spans Equity Compensation through Shareworks and E*TRADE Equity Edge Online, Retirement and Financial Wellness Solutions. Morgan Stanley at Work combines cutting-edge planning and Morgan Stanley intellectual capital and financial education delivered through multiple channels to enable employees to build a holistic plan to achieve their financial goals.
Securities products and services are offered by E*TRADE Securities LLC, Member SIPC. In connection with stock plan solutions offered by Morgan Stanley at Work, E*TRADE Securities LLC and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC provide brokerage services to stock plan participants. E*TRADE Financial Corporate Services, Inc. and E*TRADE Securities LLC are separate but affiliated subsidiaries of Morgan Stanley.
About Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management is a leading financial services firm that provides access to a wide range of products and services to individuals, businesses, and institutions, including brokerage and investment advisory services, financial and wealth planning, cash management and lending products and services, annuities and insurance, retirement, and trust services.
About Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing a wide range of investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in 41 countries, the Firm’s employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For further information about Morgan Stanley, please visit