New Voya Perspectives paper explores how DEI strategies can help close employee savings gaps

Bringing greater financial equity to the workplace

Diverse group of people looking upward and clapping their hands

Innovative new research from Voya shows that there are real and impactful differences that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) best practices can make to improve financial outcomes. We found that employers who prioritize plan design, auto features, financial wellness offerings and connected experiences for employees make a meaningful impact on leveling the playing field for underserved employee populations.

How does this affect your business?

Employers are increasingly focused on driving greater inclusion in the workplace. This includes both broad-based efforts to bring cultural change as well as a focus on delivering greater financial parity, particularly through the workplace retirement plan and benefits package.

There are benefits of a diverse workforce. Workers with diverse experiences, perspectives and knowledge can challenge assumptions, uncover implicit bias and drive more well-rounded and thoughtful decision-making — which helps a company employ strategies necessary to excel in today’s complex and dynamic business environments.

We set out to understand how to close savings gaps across employee populations

Our new paper — based on extensive DEI research — offers some key insights. For complete details, view the full Voya Perspectives: Bringing greater financial equity to the workplace to support everyone’s opportunity for a better financial future.

Read DEI Paper


About Voya’s research

This paper draws broadly from a DEI research study conducted by Voya in June 2022 on the state of workplace retirement savings gaps among underserved employee populations. The study analyzed retirement plan participant data from six plan sponsor clients including Voya, across various industries — retail, financial services, government, consumer goods and utilities. More than 163,000 employees from four employee populations were represented: Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian and White.

We wanted to better understand opportunities to help employees from different communities manage finances and save for retirement. Voya researchers focused on these three key areas:

  • Plan health — participation, savings behaviors, income replacement
  • Engagement — digital engagement, web registration, customer service calls
  • Financial wellness — protection, spending and saving, emergency funds, debt

DEI research reveals 3 key findings

1. Auto features play a big role in closing gaps for Black and Latino employees

We discovered gaps in participation rates, savings rates, account balances, income replacement and overall financial confidence. Interestingly, Black and Latino employees with access to an auto enrollment retirement plan have a participation rate two-to-three times higher than peers at employers who don’t have auto enrollment.1

2. Black and Latino employees are more likely to have inadequate emergency savings and resort to taking hardship withdrawals or loans from their workplace retirement plan

Seven in 10 Black and Latino employees had inadequate emergency savings compared to less than half of White and Asian employees.1

Inadequate emergency savings can force employees to resort to retirement plan hardship withdrawals and loans to fund short-term needs. Black employees were more than twice as likely and Latino employees were almost one-and-a-half times more likely to take a loan or hardship withdrawal than White employees.1

3. Connected financial wellness programs and education campaigns make a difference

Our research found that Black and Latino employees tend to lag behind White and Asian employees in using digital engagement tools. While 38% of White males and 47% of White females registered for web access, just 27% of Black males and 35% of Black females did so.1 The numbers were lower for Latino employees: 22% of males and 25% of females.1

All employees need help with the benefits decision process — and employees may be able to benefit from a connected and hyper-personalized benefits experience.

  • 78% of employees want help maximizing benefit dollars across retirement savings, Health Savings Accounts (HSA) health insurance and voluntary benefits.2

Employers also want a solution to help connect their benefits programs:

  • >98% of employers are interested in an integrated workplace benefits and saving solution.3

Turning the inclusion lens to health equity

Because health inequities also undermine the strength and resilience of the workforce, Voya conducted in-depth research on the impacts of health disparities across the Voya employee population — with more research planned. Initial results indicate Blacks and Latinos could benefit from better optimizing benefits decisions. Our research shows that these employees tend to over-insure by signing up for a PPO health plan — even when a high deductible plan would have been a better choice.

Clearly, health and wealth decisions and outcomes are interconnected. Through getting workplace benefits and savings in sync, a new connected approach can help improve health and wealth outcomes for all employees.

Discover how DEI best practices can help close retirement savings gaps to improve financial outcomes. View the full Voya Perspectives paper: Bringing greater financial equity to the workplace

Read DEI Paper



"Bringing greater financial equity to the workplace" DEI paper honored and recognized

Our Voya Perspectives paper recently won a Financial Content Marketing Award from Gramercy Institute

Winners Badge, August 2023*


*In 2023, Voya Financial was recognized as a winner of the Gramercy Institute’s Financial Content Marketing Awards in the Retirement, Business to Business category. The recognition is based on 2023 information and a $350 entry fee was paid for consideration. Awards and/or rankings are not representative of actual client experiences or outcomes, and are not indicative of any future performance. For more information about the award, visit


Text representation of article graphics (for screen reader accessibility):

Graphic 1: Participation rate – % of employees actively contributing

Non-auto enroll plans

  • Asian – 46%
  • White – 49%
  • Black – 31%
  • Latino – 34%

Auto enroll plans

  • Asian – 92%
  • White – 90%
  • Black – 87%
  • Latino – 88%

Based on internal data, Voya DEI Analysis, as of 6/30/2022.

Graphic 2: Emergency savings – % off track

  • Asian – 40%
  • White – 45%
  • Black – 70%
  • Latino – 69%

Based on internal data, Voya DEI Analysis, as of 6/30/2022.

Graphic 3: % took loan or hardship withdrawal

  • Asian – 8%
  • White – 13%
  • Black – 32%
  • Latino – 19%

(July 2020-June 2022) Based on internal data, Voya DEI Analysis, as of 6/30/2022.

Graphic 4: Participation engagement

Registered for web access

  • Asian – Male: 33%; Female: 49%
  • White – Male: 38%; Female: 47%
  • Black – Male: 27%; Female: 35%
  • Latino – Male: 22%; Female: 25%

Based on internal data, Voya DEI Analysis, as of 6/30/2022.

Related Items

  1. Based on internal data, Voya DEI Analysis, as of 6/30/2022
  2. Voya Financial; Voice of the Customer Report; 2022
  3. Voya Employer Survey, included 245 employers across a range of industries and size, October 2021

Neither Voya® nor its affiliated companies or representatives provide tax or legal advice. Please consult a tax adviser or attorney before making a tax-related investment/insurance decision.

Products and services offered through the Voya® family of companies.