Employers in the UK and Ireland are at risk of losing staff over unsatisfactory benefits packages, a new study has found. More than eight out of ten (84%) UK and Irish employees are unhappy with their employers’ current benefits package and more than half would consider switching jobs in the future to get a better benefits package.
The findings were uncovered in newly commissioned research for Boundless, a global employment and benefits platform, which questioned 402 HR directors and 2,057 employees in the UK and Ireland.
While more than eight out of ten employees would consider changing jobs for a better salary, 55% would also consider a move for a more competitive benefits package. The vast majority (90%) of employees take the benefits package into account when considering a new job and more than a third (37%) would move roles to secure specific desired benefits not offered by their current employer.
According to employees, the top five benefits offered by their organisation are pension, mental health support, flexible work, education/training and additional annual leave. However the study revealed a disconnect between the benefits being offered versus what employees desire, with a four-day working week topping the list from those surveyed. Healthcare, additional paid parental leave, family & home and transport benefits are also high on employees’ wishlists, demonstrating the breadth of different benefits sought after by employees according to their life circumstances and preferences.
According to Boundless, the research suggests that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to benefits – i.e. offering the same benefits package to all employees – is no longer fit for purpose, and employees are more than willing to leave a company if their benefits needs are not met.
Fortunately, employers are now waking up to this risk and recognising the need to change how benefits are managed in their organisation – particularly those employing overseas workers in remote-only roles. More than half (52%) of HR directors offer a flexible benefits plan, while a further 16% would like to empower employees to manage their own benefits allowance.
Dee Coakley, CEO and co-founder of Boundless, says: “In today’s hyper-competitive and increasingly global job market, it’s key that employers consider how well they are satisfying employee expectations around benefits, the areas they need to improve, and how they’re adapting to the changing requirements of a more flexible and demanding workforce. For example, only 10% currently give employees an allowance to choose their benefits as they please.”
The research also highlights the extent to which, in the aftermath of the pandemic, flexible working is now commonplace across organisations. Many employers have stepped up to support remote working, with home office equipment, mental health provision, and money towards co-working spaces or WFH bills and expenses for employees.
Currently, almost half (45%) of employees enjoy flexible working hours, 38% location flexibility and 15% the ability to choose their own benefits, and the study shows that employees are craving even more flexibility over both their roles and remuneration. Almost three quarters (73%) said flexible hours are important to them, while 57% prioritise location flexibility and 35% feel flexible benefits are key. Crucially, seven out of ten employees said they would consider changing jobs for greater flexibility.
“Most organisations recognise that remote working is here to stay – this is no longer a new concept,” Coakley adds. “However, there remains a big gap between the flexibility employers are offering and what employees are demanding. The organisations that take note of this …….