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Are benefits back?

Many employers plan to boost their benefits next year with partial 401(k) matches and salary increases for top performers, say reports from Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt. As the economy improves, such moves are critical to retain talent, consultants say.

Companies understandably had to cut back on benefits when the economy headed south. And even with signs of recovery on the horizon, I’m not expecting mass restorations of generous perks, or even 401(k) matches. Yes, there’s a risk that they will alienate their best talent, but that fear is still trumped by the need to guard the balance sheet.