Basic pay most difficult reward element for cost control

A third (34%) of respondents find basic pay the most difficult element of their reward package around which to control costs, according to research by Thomsons Online Benefits.

Its 2013 Employee rewards watch survey, which polled more than 500 HR, reward and finance professionals in the UK, outlines the financial demands that organisations face to control costs in the current economic climate.

It also found that pensions spend (61%) closely followed salary in the list of concerns regarding costs. The average spend on pension and benefits typically comprised between 9% and 12% of an employer’s pay and benefits bill. 

The research also found:

  • Two-thirds (67%) of respondents have less than 75% pension take-up among their employees.
  • 59% of respondents believe that auto-enrolment will not impact them.
  • 19% of respondents have no confidence in their ability to deal with auto-enrolment.
  • 50% of respondents say engaging employees is an issue when it comes to pensions take-up.
  • 62% of respondents believe improved engagement is the top advantage of offering health and group risk benefits.
  • 88% of respondents offer childcare vouchers, up from 20% in 2004.
  • 72% of respondents feel offering salary sacrifice arrangements has improved engagement with benefits.
  • Only 13% of respondents actively communicate benefits to staff at least once a quarter.

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Michael Whitfield, chief executive officer of Thomsons Online Benefits (pictured), said: “Over the past ten years, Thomsons has tracked the effect of business pressures on reward spend and in 2013 the challenges are the same as 10 years ago. How does [an organisation] control this significant spend, while getting buy-in from employees?

“The 2013 Employee rewards watch survey evaluates the challenges against a backdrop of legislative change and provides guidance on the options to help employers navigate the right course for them.”