The majority (85%) of organisations plan to enhance their benefits packages for employees, according to research by HR and employee benefits consulting services firm Gallagher.
Its Organisational and career wellbeing strategy, which polled employers across various industries on key trends and sentiments toward employee benefits and engagement, also found that flexible benefits have increased sharply compared to 2022, while private medical insurance usage has increased by 15%, with 52% of respondents now offering this. This is followed by life assurance (40%), which has grown by 5%.
Voluntary benefits such as bikes-for-work schemes have increased to 75% from 73% in 2022, while gym memberships rose to 45% from 34%.
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Just over four-fifths (84%) employers have implemented hybrid-working policies, while 43% offer compressed hours and 15% have a four-day working week. Two-fifths (41%) also allow their employees to work remotely abroad, with 36% setting up a formal policy in terms of tax, immigration and social security for doing so.
In the last 12-18 months, 42% provided specific cost-of-living support through additional salary increases or one-off lump sum payments, and 49% reviewed pay systems and structures. Two-fifths (43%) increased their focus on diversity, equity and inclusion to create a fairer and more equitable workplace.
Pressure on benefits budgets (60%) was cited as employers’ number one challenge compared to 2022, with a 5% increase of in the number of organisations facing this. More than half (57%) were concerned about appealing to a diverse workforce through their benefits packages, such as catering to factors like age, gender and lifestyle choices.
Steve Threader, managing director, reward and benefits consulting at Gallagher, said: “What employees expect from the workplace has changed, and benefits are becoming increasingly critical to attracting and retaining talent. It is clear that UK organisations are taking this on board and are dedicated to creating a culture where employees feel valued, in turn creating a productive working environment, but there is more progress to be made.”