Three-fifths cite having more than 28 days of annual leave as an important benefit


Approximately three-fifths (59%) of employees state that having more than 28 days of annual leave within their benefits package is important; however, only 36% of employers offer this, according to research by recruitment organisation Hays.

The Hays salary and recruiting trends 2019 guide, which surveyed 7,820 employers and 14,889 employees, also found that 49% of employees value pension contributions above the minimum requirements, which is offered by 51% of employers. More than two-fifths (44%) think health insurance or private medical cover is important; this is provided by 39% of employers.

Alternatively, 40% of employers offer eyecare vouchers, which are valued by only 16% of employees. Just under three-fifths (59%) of employers provide childcare vouchers, which are ranked as important by 11% of staff, and 49% offer access to a cycle-to-work scheme, favoured by only 8% of employees. More than a third (35%) award above statutory levels of maternity and paternity leave, but only 17% of employees say this is important to them.

Barney Ely (pictured), director of human resources at Hays, said: “A competitive salary is no longer enough on its own to attract staff, and the overall package is increasingly important. Our research shows that a high proportion of professionals would be tempted to move roles for better salary and benefits package, career progression opportunities and the pursuit of a better work-life balance.”

Even among those not currently looking for an alternative job, 44% would be tempted into a new role because of the package on offer. Nearly a third (30%) of employees rate work-life balance, including flexible working opportunities, as the most important factor when considering a new job, aside from salary. However, only 18% of employers also rank this highly. One in 10 (10%) rate their benefits package as the most important consideration when looking at a new role.

Only 17% of employees rank their work-life balance as very good, compared to 38% who feel it is good and 10% who think it is poor.

Two-fifths (44%) of employees are very aware of the flexible working options available to them, whereas 26% are somewhat aware and 16% are not aware of how they could work flexibly at all.

Ely added: “Offering benefits which better align to a range of candidates and generations will give organisations the ability to access a greater untapped talent pool [of people] looking for the right offer. Presenting a varied and innovative benefits package which appeals to a diverse audience will be a key element of hiring this year, especially in a skill-short market.”

A third (32%) of respondents born approximately between 1940 and 1960 define work-life balance, including flexible working, as the most important factor when looking to change job roles. This compares to 32% of respondents born between 1960 and 1980, 26% of employees born up to the mid 1990s, and 23% of those born after 1995.

Half (49%) of the oldest set of respondents rate their work-life balance between average and very poor, in comparison to 37% of the youngest group.

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“Benefits that aid work-life balance, such as a generous holiday entitlement and fitness memberships are also attractive to employees,” Ely concluded. “This is of increased importance considering older generations’ negative evaluation of their work-life balance.

“Being clear about flexible working options as well as salary and benefits will make [an organisation] stand out as an employer and help to appeal to candidates.”