The past five years have seen little change in the top benefits offered in a traditional core package. For many years, training and development was viewed as a human resource strategy separate to benefits strategy. But the growing prominence of total reward strategies has led to more training and development being integrated within broader employment offerings to staff. To reflect this shift, this year we include it for the first time – where it tops the list of core benefits. Back in 2004, life assurance was the most commonly-offered core benefit, and it remains in second place. Extra holidays for long service are also still popular.
A significant change is the popularity of counselling or employee assistance programmes (EAPs), which are now offered by 60%, up from 30% five years ago. An increasing focus on tackling stress may be behind this, along with a desire to support staff during the recession.