More than four in 10 (43%) UK workers want a flexible reward package and the ability to control their benefits, according to research carried out by payroll and HR service provider SD Worx.
The survey of employees in the UK, Austria, Belgium, France and the Netherlands, sampling 500 workers in each country, also found that 69% of UK employees would be more likely to apply for a new job if the prospective employer offered a flexible reward package. However, the vast majority of employers (83%) still have complete control over their employees’ remuneration.
If given the option, more than a quarter (28%) of UK workers would prefer to have fewer benefits in favour of a higher salary, with 16% saying they would be happy to sacrifice their holiday allowance in exchange for a boost in pay. However, 9% said they would like an increase in holiday days in exchange for an active reduction in other benefits.
Across Europe, the survey found that 28% of organisations in Austria and 24% of those in the Netherlands are likely to give employees a set budget to define how their remuneration package is composed, while employers in Belgium (9%) are the least likely to do so. The UK scored just below the European average at 17%.
Across all European employees working for organisations that offer a set budget for tailored benefits, 71% agreed that they are satisfied and 72% said they intend to stay with their employer for a long time. In addition, 71% said they would remain in the organisation even if they received a comparable offer from another employer.
Jeremy Campbell, chief commercial officer at SD Worx, said: “The ability to tailor a benefits package to suit your individual needs is of great interest for many workers, and businesses need to do more to offer this as standard. Doing so will not only keep current employees happy, but it will also help [organisations] find and recruit the best talent.”
When financial reward is taken out of the equation and employees are given a set budget to put together a bespoke package, nearly half (48%) of European employees would opt for extra holiday. Home-working allowances were a key factor for 21% of respondents, and the same percentage wanted a laptop or smartphone included in their benefits package.
Campbell said: “While money may seem an obvious incentive, in an increasingly flexible world, employees across Europe are also placing a greater emphasis on their personal lives, and having a good work-life balance is clearly very important to them. Mobility and flexible working contribute to a culture where the employee is in control of their professional day-to-day life.”
Traditional benefits still featured on the priority list for workers offered control of their remuneration, with more than a quarter (28%) opting for an individual pension scheme. Some 11% of UK workers said they wanted a contribution to medical expenses. Almost a fifth (19%) of UK employees said they would prefer a public transport allowance over a company car (14%) or a leased bicycle (4%).