Around two-thirds (62%) of respondents state that a contributory pension scheme is one of their top five most valued benefits, according to research by global advisory and brokering organisation Willis Towers Watson.
Its survey of 2,000 UK employees also found that respondents most valued health insurance (43%), life insurance (40%), critical illness cover (35%) and health cash plans (32%) within their employee benefits package.
Mark Ramsook (pictured), director, health and benefits at Willis Towers Watson, said: “The first few weeks of the new year sees a significant upturn in the number of job listings, to coincide with the spike in new job-hunters who, after taking the holidays to re-evaluate their employment and levels of job satisfaction, have decided on a fresh start.
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“As this research shows, benefits are a key component to attracting and retaining talent. [Organisations] looking for high-quality candidates, or wishing to hold on to their existing employee base, should consider this as part of their talent management strategies.”
The majority (89%) of respondents think that benefits provision is an important consideration in their decision to work for an organisation, although 67% state that their employer has never consulted them on their reward and benefits preferences.
Approximately half (48%) of respondents are satisfied with their benefits package; this increases to 60% for employees earning more than the national average of £28,758 a year and drops to 43% for those earning less than £28,758 annually.
Ramsook added: “A gulf exists between what [employees] want and what employees think they need. A disparity between low and high earners may be expected, as provision increases with salary, but [employers] should ask if they are adequately catering for their lower paid [staff], as they form the backbone of any operation.
“[Organisations] should look to consult with [employees], so they can create a benefits package that truly reflects their needs and goals. This not only breeds a sense of loyalty among employees, leading to better recruitment and retention, but can also significantly benefit the employer; after all, benefits will only be perceived as valuable if they are used.”