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Stay or go: The influence of benefits packages at work

Benefits rank higher than pay increases (albeit up to a threshold level) for a sizable number of workers.

Shoreditch district in the East End of London, England. — © Image by Tim Sandle.
Shoreditch district in the East End of London, England. — © Image by Tim Sandle.

Small and midsize employers are not tending to offer the benefits that employees value the most, according to a report released by PeopleKeep (which is itself a provider of corporate benefits). This latest business survey reveals a disconnect existing between the relatively limited benefits businesses offer and flexible options that businesses could provide.

The research was based on the views of some 300 small to midsize employers and their workforces in relation to welfare provided by the firms.

The research has been conducted from the U.S. perspective. By flexible benefits, this includes employment contract add-ons like mental health, dental, and vision benefits that employees want and need.

The research also finds that when these benefits are on offer, the majority of employees express a preference in terms of being able to select them. With this, 65 percent of employees said they value being able to choose their own benefits, but only 36 percent of workers feel they have a say at their current company.

The benefits cited also rank higher than pay increases (albeit up to a threshold level) for a sizable number of workers. The survey finds that 42 percent of employees said they would rather have an additional benefit than a monthly $200 wage increase, if they were offered a choice.

This could be indicative of benefits packages being perceived as worth more than the cash sum or there could be a convenience factor in terms of not needing to arrange the cover if the benefits were provided directly.

The type of employment enhancements available appears to be influential for 82 percent of employees said that the benefits package an employer offers is an important factor in whether or not applicants accept a job with an organization.

It was of interest that employers did not place the importance of the compensation and benefits package at quite the same level, when considering what attracts people to a for, for  only 66 percent of employers surveyed think this is sufficiently important to be a determinant for job selection.

With the different types of benefits on offer, 63 percent of employees said mental health benefits are important, but only 5 percent of employers said they offer mental health benefits. Hence, a significant disconnect exists between the needs of workers and the offering put in place by employers.

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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