Hull firm to flex to help find recruits

Smith & Nephew is piloting a flexible benefits scheme at its Hull division in a bid to lure more new recruits to the beleaguered city.

The medical supplies firm, best known for manufacturing plasters, will trial the scheme on 600 management staff from January.

Terry Dunn, remuneration and pension manager at the company, said: "We have a big problem attracting people to Hull but once you get them here it’s usually not a problem."

But he said that the port city, which was voted the worst town in the 2003 book ‘Crap Towns: The 50 Worst Places To Live In The UK‘, was improving, making it easier to recruit. The scheme, which was installed by consultancy group the Hay Group and run by online flex provider Thomsons Online Benefits, is expected to cost the organisation around £100,000. Benefits in the package include home computing and tax-free bike salary sacrifice schemes, as well as private medical insurance and holiday trading.

"We haven’t gone for the full monty all at once. We are dipping our toe in the water to ensure that it is right for us and we get people embracing the idea," said Dunn.

The company recently overhauled its pay grading system, and hopes that the flex scheme will reinforce the exclusive position of people on higher grades. But for now, production workers are excluded from flexible benefits.