New surveys reveal that employees are increasingly aware of what they want from their jobs, such as pensions, sick pay, and more flexible work options over a competitive salary package.
New ONS figures show that unemployment fell to 4.7% in the last month, increasing vacancies to over 900,000. This means that employees will be viewing job opportunities differently from how they did during the height of the pandemic, where enjoyment over survival is the new priority. Businesses will need to work harder to retain talent.
With evidence of inflation pressures from rising wages as firms begin outbidding each other for staff, the power is in the hands of the job seeker who wants more non-financial work perks than ever before.
The work perks employees want
A new survey by telephone answering service Moneypenny found that sick pay (52%), a pension (51%), and flexible working (46%) are the top three benefits that are deemed “essential job requirements” for UK workers.
The survey also revealed that job seekers believe free eye tests (38%), working from home (37%), and maternity and paternity leave (36%) should be mandatory work perks.
In order of popularity, the work benefits employee respondents feel should be mandatory include:
- Sick Pay – 52%
- Pension – 51%
- Flexible working hours – 46%
- Free eye tests – 38%
- Ability to work from home – 37%
- Maternity, paternity, and adoption leave – 36%
- Time in lieu – 35%
- Kitchen facilities with tea and coffee – 35%
- Training and ongoing professional development – 34%
- Death in service insurance (pay out of up to five times annual salary if you die in employment) – 31%
Respondents also cited what their most important non-mandatory work perks would include:
- Pension – 42%
- Sick Pay – 41%
- Flexible working hours – 40%
- Ability to work from home – 30%
- On-site parking – 23%
- Death in service insurance (pay out of up to five times annual salary if you die in employment) – 21%
- Training and ongoing professional development – 20%
- Bonus scheme – 19%
- Free eye tests – 18%
- Time in lieu – 18%
The survey also revealed some generational differences among respondents looking for work perks, where 25% of Gen Z (18-24-year-olds) would prefer to have “weekly drinks and beers on Friday and to travel for work” compared to just 2% of the boomer generation (65+ years).
In terms of other work perk preferences, 60% of Gen Z employees would prefer to have a pension, while 48% wanted sick pay and 38% flexible working hours.
What perks employers are listing in job postings
Moneypenny also analysed the work perks employers are now listing in their job posts, and these include health and fitness-related benefits where 12% of posts listed access to a gym as a key benefit, while 3% listed free healthcare and others listed include free annual flu jabs, yoga sessions, and access to free counselling services.
However, only 0.4% of job posts they surveyed mentioned a dedicated mental health support service. Other listed benefits in postings mentioned regularly include casual dress (10%), bonus schemes (8%), bike-to-work schemes (7%), and training (6%).
In terms of sector, the survey found the digital marketing industry lists the highest amount of work perks, at an average of 6.5 benefits listed per job post. This was followed by the data industry, offering an average of 6.3 perks per role, then the digital editorial/journalism industry (5.1 benefits), customer services industry (4.9 benefits), and the research industry (4.6 benefits).
Shifting preferences triggered by COVID-19 and Brexit
Another survey by business management consultant MovePlan found that 40% of business leaders “fear that the combination of the pandemic and Brexit will see their best talent disappear abroad”, which could make hiring more challenging.
The survey also found that job motivation and career paths were commonly re-evaluated during the lockdown period, where 63% of employee respondents said they “questioned whether their current career was right for them at all and are considering alternative paths.”
Furthermore, a “competitive salary and bonus structure have fallen down the list of priorities”, and instead, 45% ranked team, people, and culture as most important.
This was followed by flexible working (39%), compounded by a recent study by UK consultancy Future Strategy Club that found that 57% of British workers don’t want to return to a 9-5 role.
The MovePlan study also found that values such as “purpose, vision, social responsibility and diversity and inclusion” repeatedly appeared in the respondent comment section.
The survey has also found that for a majority of employees and senior executives, flexible working is now a ‘must-have’ work priority, where 66% want to split their time between home and the office, with some wishing to define their working location weekly (41% of senior execs and 38% of employees). Just 3% of employees would work from an office full time while 14% would work from home indefinitely.