Half of workers surveyed by insurer MetLife UK say they would be willing to sacrifice more of their salary to secure a tailored employee benefits package.
The research also shows 69% of workers admitted they would work harder for an employer who provides employee benefits that support their individual needs and 58% of employees would like to see their benefits package covering all their dependents including their spouse.
While before the pandemic, employers ranked income protection as the 13th most important benefit for employees, this has now risen to third, with employers now viewing this as a vital benefit to offer their staff in future.
Salary remains the most important factor for women aged 50 or older but personal development opportunities are most valued by women aged 18-29.
Flexible working is important for both men and women but slightly more so for women than men.
More than half of women aged 50 or older said it was important as did 48% of their colleagues aged 18-29 and 47% of those aged 30-49. This compares with 50% for men aged 50+ and just 39% for those aged 18-29.
Mental health and personalisation
Almost two thirds (62%) of employees said they wanted to ‘shape their benefit packages with their boss’ and 63% of employers revealed they had seen an increase in employees’ queries about benefits since the pandemic.
And 61% adding they had noticed an increase in demand for mental wellbeing products.
Four in 10 (39%) employees said their employer has introduced specific benefits to support them working from home.
Commenting on the findings, Adrian Matthews, emloyee benefits director at MetLife UK, said: “For years businesses have believed that higher pay and job security was the answer to a multitude of problems for employees and while they both remain vital, priorities have changed.
“Employees are now looking for a much more holistic approach to their benefits package.”
He noted that the last year had seen a seismic shift in the way we work and where we do it.
“During the pandemic with social venues closed, the ‘softer’ benefits such as gym memberships and Friday drinks became obsolete and while many of us look forward to socialising after work with a colleague again, more functional benefits such as income protection are proving to be more worthwhile,” he continued.
“Benefits valued by employees have changed, as the pandemic has brought health and wellness to the forefront of everyone’s minds.
“Ensuring that the benefit packages employers offer suits all members of the team is crucial to protect productivity and encourage loyalty for the long term.”
He conclued that employers must recognise “how the needs of their employees will have changed in the past 12 months and work with them to find practical solutions that can be introduced quickly.”