64% believe employers offer benefits that staff do not want, need or use

Almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents believe that organisations invest in expensive benefits that employees neither want, need or use, according to research by Michael Page.

Its survey of 1,000 UK adults aged 18 or over who have moved into or applied for a new job in the past three years, also found that 82% of respondents think organisations over complicate employee benefits by making them difficult to use or to understand.

The research also found:

  • 71% of respondents cite flexible working as their most-wanted benefit, followed by home-working arrangements (55%), unlimited paid holiday (46%), a company car or subsidised or free travel (43%), and free weekly lunches (41%).
  • 70% of respondents view unusual benefits, such as free massages, as a gimmick.
  • 52% of respondents did not have an opportunity to negotiate the benefits package on offer last time they were interviewed for a job.
  • 37% of respondents did not know what their benefits package included before they took their current job, and 65% have been surprised to find out about a particular benefit after working in a role for some time.
  • 73% of respondents factor benefits into their decision whether to turn down a job.

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Oliver Watson (pictured), executive board director for UK and North America at Pagegroup, said: “While we may be accustomed to negotiating a starting salary, discussing more tailored benefits is rarely given the same priority, resulting in neither party getting an agreement that drives engagement for an employee and performance for an employer.

“As working cultures become more flexible and dynamic, a one-size-fits-all approach to benefits no longer applies. With only [20% of] UK consumers completely satisfied with their current benefits package and 85% saying a flexible benefits package would make a job more desirable to them, employers need to relax their typically fixed policies and start an open conversation about benefits far earlier in the recruitment process.”