Since the revelation in 2014 that Apple and Facebook offer to freeze eggs for female employees to attract women into their workforces, the range of benefits and perks being offered by some types of businesses has become more varied, if not downright quirky. But are the likes of unlimited holidays and ‘pawternity’ leave offering up any genuine reward to UK workforces?
New research by Aviva has uncovered the benefits that are truly valuable in 2019 through an in-depth survey of 2,000 employees and 500 employers from various industries and business sizes in the UK .
More than one-third (36%) of employees surveyed were attracted to their current role because of location and transport links. But only a quarter (27%) of employers felt that these act as benefits, showing that some employers are underestimating how important location and accessibility of their workplace is to applicants. This is particularly true in London, where 17% of employees were interested in workplace benefits that help them get to work, such as subsidised travel, season tickets or a cycle to work scheme.
However, salary and work-life balance are some of the main reasons overall that workers choose their jobs and stay long term (41%). For women, location and transport links outrank salary in the job prospects stakes. Only employees in micro businesses don’t state salary as having the most appeal.
Exploring which benefits employees are interested in, rather than trendy benefits, employees would like to see the more traditional benefits, such as:
- A good level of annual leave
- A strong pension
- Flexible working hours
- Paid sick leave
Employer attitudes were found to differ as when asked which benefits they thought employees wanted, 46% thought that it would be flexible working hours, although this is not possible in all industries.
Surprisingly, some employees were not bothered about social benefits, with 1 in 4 stating they had no interest in social events such as parties and away days with the company. Dogs in the office and entertainment at work proved to be the benefits employees value the least.
The survey questioned why some employees were not using their workplace benefits. The top three reasons for this were a lack of interest (19%), benefits not being relevant to them (18%) and a lack of information (18%). However, 1 in 5 employees said that they have no workplace benefits on offer to them at all.
If employees could choose a trendy benefit to add to their package, a wellness allowance (48%) and duvet days (31%) were some of the top benefits considered. One-third of employers surveyed would offer a wellness allowance to their employees but only 1 in 5 would consider the addition of duvet days.