Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley at Work Unveils Equity Compensation Findings From Inaugural State of the Workplace Financial Benefits Study

Nov 30, 2021

  • HR executives say equity compensation is an essential benefit for employees to meet goals and deepen loyalty
  • Nearly nine in 10 employees agree they would be more likely to stay with their company if it emphasized equity compensation

New York - 

Morgan Stanley at Work today released the latest findings from its inaugural State of the Workplace Financial Benefits Study focused on the financial benefits, perceptions and role of equity compensation among employers and employees in the workplace.

The study found the pandemic has changed the way employees and employers alike view their workplace financial benefits, with an increased focus on offerings like equity compensation. The rising importance of equity compensation in the workplace serves as an essential benefit to not only help employees meet their long-term financial goals, but also to increase employee motivation and loyalty. This provides companies with a unique opportunity to attract and retain talent in a highly competitive labor market. Among the notable findings from the study include:

  • Employers and employees agree that equity compensation is a powerful motivator. 93% of HR executives and 75% of employees agree that equity compensation and stock ownership is the most effective way to motivate employees.

  • Equity compensation correlates with the perception of best-in-class benefits. Employers believe that equity compensation is a driving factor for “best in class” benefits. Nearly nine in 10 (89%) HR executives at companies that offer equity compensation strongly or completely agree their company provides “best in class” benefits, vs. only 56% at companies that do not offer equity.
  • Employees are divided on the exact role equity compensation plays for employees. Employees diverge over what makes equity compensation a strong motivator, with the top three choices being “gives me a stake in the success of the company” at 27%, “helps meet long term goals” at 26%, and “provides an additional source of income” in third with 23%.

“From the conversations we are having with our clients it appears that equity compensation will only continue to grow as a significant workplace benefit,” said Scott Whatley, Managing Director & Global Head of Equity Solutions, Morgan Stanley at Work. “Our study shows equity compensation is a powerful motivator that can help employees meet their financial goals, while helping employers attract and retain talent. As this benefit continues to be sought after by employees at all levels, the need to effectively scale it becomes critical. Further, for companies to optimize this offering, they must be mindful of awareness and comprehension gaps among employees, and provide them with meaningful communication and educational tools so they can maximize the advantages of their equity.”

The full findings of Morgan Stanley at Work’s State of the Workplace Financial Benefits Study can be found here.

Methodology: The data from the Morgan Stanley at Work State of the Workplace Financial Benefits Study comes from a survey of 1,000 U.S. employed adults and 600 HR executives. Quotas were set for both audiences to match representative distributions, including for company size, benefits status and seniority. The survey was conducted on behalf of Morgan at Stanley at Work using an email invitation and an online survey between September 21 and September 28, 2021 by Wakefield Research (

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. Employee stock plan solutions, including Equity Edge Online, are part of the Morgan Stanley at Work solutions and are offered by E*TRADE Financial Corporate Services, Inc. Morgan Stanley at Work currently has offices in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Wakefield Research is neither an employee of, nor affiliated with, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”).

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About Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in more than 41 countries, the Firm's employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For more information about Morgan Stanley, please visit

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