Female staff twice as likely to request childcare benefits

Mother and child-childcare-2015

Female workers are twice as likely to ask their employer for childcare benefits than their male counterparts, according to research by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC).

Its study of 2,423 UK employees also found that, when asked to select their two top workplace benefits, medical insurance was valued highly by 32% of women, but just 24% of men.

However, company car schemes were more popular with male respondents, selected by 29%, compared to 21% of their female counterparts.

Meanwhile, pensions were 5% more popular with men than women and workplace share schemes were 9% more popular among male respondents than females.

Benefits preferences also varied according to the age of employees. For example, 70% of respondents aged 40 and over chose to invest in a workplace pension scheme, compared to 56% of respondents in their 20s, while 55% of respondents aged over 40 opted for workplace share schemes, compared to 40% in their 20s.

Among generation Y respondents, more than half (51%) of those under 20 would swap 5% of their earnings for free food and drink at work and 32% would choose a company car scheme, compared to 27% of those aged 40 and older.

In addition, when asked if they would swap £1,000 of their salary for the opportunity to receive a performance-related bonus of £5,000, 36% of respondents under the age of 20 would do so, compared to 18% of those aged between 40 and 59..

A quarter (25%) of 18-24 year-old respondents would also choose a four-day training programme over monetary rewards.

The survey also found:

  • 65% see their employer’s contributions to their pension as their most valued  benefit, while 49% would participate in a workplace share scheme.
  • Company cars and medical insurance were chosen by 28% of respondents as their most valued workplace benefit.
  • 73% who work in the public sector perceive pensions as important, compared to 57% in the private sector.
  • 44% cite discounted shopping vouchers as a good benefit for cutting the cost of living, followed by help with morgage rates (37%), healthcare (36%) and extra holiday (35%).
  • Access to a better mortgage rate was cited by 37% as the benefit they would most like to see introduced. Mpre than a third (36%) of respondents in their 20s chose this option, along with 24% of respondents in their 30s, and 38% in their 40s.

John Harding, pay, performance and risk partner at PWC, said: “Our research highlights that people recognise the importance of benefits that help with long-term savings, however, cash is still king and employees are unlikely to give up cash for tax-efficient benefits.

“Reward is by no means one size fits all, and preferences vary considerably between employee demographics. Employers should target their benefits spend accordingly, otherwise they risk spending valuable resources on benefits that are not valued appropriately by certain segments of their workforce.

“Employers should also communicate the benefits they offer and allow employees the opportunity to earn bonuses, variable pay elements, and pay awards towards their benefits package, rather than simply giving up existing pay under flexible benefits schemes.”