Forget health insurance or a 401(k) plan, more employees prefer their company's stock purchase plans.
Sixteen percent of workers said their employee stock purchase plan is their most important benefit, up from 10 percent in 2014, according to a new survey by Fidelity Investments, which administers employee stock purchase plans for 177 employers with 678,000 participants.
Employees may be feeling optimistic about their company's stock because of the second longest bull market in history. One in 5 workers expects his or her company stock to increase substantially over the next three years, the survey found. Fidelity polled more than 2,100 stock plan participants in March and April.
Investing in company stock is not without risk.
"Having worked with lots of Lucent, Avaya, HP, United, and other employees in the 2001 recession who lost their shirts by being over-invested in company stock, I'm leery of the employee stock purchase plans," said Kristin Sullivan, a certified financial planner in Denver.
But tell that to employees at Microsoft, Google, Facebook and others who became millionaires from company stock purchases.