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Top Talent Don’t Care About Free Lunches


The unemployment rate in the United Kingdom has dropped to its lowest since 1975, and employment is at its highest in the last four years, yet workers and their employers don’t appear to be better off.

The CV Squad have examined why 30% of UK employers said hiring had increased compared to the previous year, while an almost equal amount (29%) declared that employee turnover is growing, and that they are struggling to attract and retain high-potential employees and top performers.

Why Are Businesses Struggling to Identify, Attract, and Retain Top Performing Employees?

Employers Don’t Know How to Identify Top Talent

32% of employees expect to leave their job in next two years, and alarmingly, many businesses focus their retention efforts on the wrong employees.

By focusing on the retention of their top employees, employers can avoid being part of the 60% of UK employers that have faced the difficulty of attracting high-potential and top-performing workers.

They Prioritise Perks Employees Don’t Care For

83% of employers say retaining employees is their top benefits objective. However, according to Ben Muir, recruitment director at The CV Squad, “Employers and employees appear to have their wires crossed as to what is offered and what employees want.”

“Employees are often more concerned with competitive base pay, job security and benefits that ease their personal life. However, employers tend to emphasize other benefits, like challenging work, freebies and a cool company culture”.

How to Identify, Attract, and Retain Top Performing Employees

Identifying Top Talent

According to Muir, “Employers should look to the needs of their top 5% employees, as these are likely to be the company’s most motivated, proficient, and likely to rise to positions of accountability and leadership”.

What Employees Really Care About

ICIMS found that, “92% of full-time employees believe that companies that offer non-traditional benefits are more likely to recruit top-tier talent”. But, top employees won’t work for unfair pay, and they also won’t be easily swayed with mundane rewards, like free coffee in the mornings, office-served lunches, minibars, or nap pods.

With nearly three in five (57%) people reporting that benefits and perks are among their top considerations before accepting a job, here are the benefits that top employees really care about:

  1. Fair or generous pay
  2. Healthcare insurance (e.g. medical, dental, vision)
  3. Substantial paid leave
  4. Performance bonuses
  5. Paid sick leave
  6. Retirement plan or pension
  7. Fair maternity and paternity leave and pay
  8. Work-life balance

While extra benefits make work and personal life more comfortable and manageable, according to MetLife, 39% are living payday to payday while 34% are distracted at work due to financial worries. It’s clear that rewarding employees with non-monetary rewards is important, but a decent income is still the most crucial.

What Does This Mean for Employees Today?

The dilemma employers face when trying to locate top talent is an advantage for workers in any field who aren’t feeling valued, or who are looking for a job that challenges them more.

According to Muir:

“Workers know what they want, and it is up to employers to offer what meets their needs and wants”.

For skilled workers in the UK, this is a great opportunity to get back into the job market, be identified and retained as top talent, and be valued – receiving fair income and benefits that really make a difference.


During Nathan’s early career, he gained considerable experience from across many industries including Sales, Teaching and Retail, however more recently Nathan has delved into the world Digital Marketing and Publishing. Drawing on his past experiences, Nathan brings all aspects of his knowledge into Recruitment Buzz, possessing great research and social media skills.

Born and bred in Wales, Nathan is as Welsh as they come – living in the heart of the Valleys, Nathan proudly takes place as our resident Welsh speaker. However, Nathan’s knowledge of global understanding exceeds the Welsh borders, having lived in London, parts of the US and Ecuador.

Nathan is a self-proclaimed geek, having gained a degree in Natural Science via the Open University in Wales. In addition to his passion for science, he has a love for technology, nature, art and of course football!


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