Benefits package a priority amongst younger workers

08 Jan 2024

Around 55% of workers between the ages of 18 and 34 are of the opinion that a good benefits package is a priority when conducting a job search. This is according to a recent report by Zest entitled ‘Responding to the cost of living crisis.’ Whereas in comparison, 42% of the workforce in general said benefits were a top priority. This is according to the survey of 2,000 UK workers and 500 HR decision makers. The findings also showed that private medical insurance was considered the most important benefit for employees, wanted by 32%, yet offered by just 26% of companies. In addition, 25% of those polled wanted their employer to contribute to their home energy bills, as per the Zest report. Also within the top 5 benefits listed in the findings were a rise in pension contributions, workplace saving schemes and discounts in high street shops and brands. HR commentator, Steve Herbert said to People Management of the research: “While low pay is a problem for all ages, it is perhaps most felt by those at the start of their working careers, so it is no surprise that younger workers have been more appreciative of employee benefits that have provided practical – or even financial – support during the cost of living crisis.”

Move for better benefits?

Well, it looks like it! The report shows 67% of younger workers would move to another firm if they were offered a better benefits package. This compares to just 37% of employees over the age of 55. “We know that the workforce of the future will be more diverse than it is today and so any organisation that wishes to future-proof its talent supply will be working to get under the surface of how best to enable employees to feel supported and thrive,” said director of HR research and consulting at the Institute for Employment Studies, Dan Lucy. “It is important to remember, though, that this is not all about young people. One third of the workforce is over 50 and failing to consider this group would be a major risk for having the capability to deliver against business objectives.”

Inadequate benefits

The Zest report shows that 45% of workers felt their current benefits package was insufficient, whilst 56% said they didn’t use their benefits as they were irrelevant. An additional 65% of those polled said they would make more use of their benefits if they were more specifically tailored to their needs. “Companies need to ensure they are aligning benefits provision to employee needs, although this can be difficult to achieve for a diverse workforce with multifaceted challenges,” according to Clare Dare, head of healthcare, risk and technology at PIB Employee Benefits. “One solution is to invest in voluntary benefits that can sit alongside traditional core benefits such as life assurance and pension, as this then gives employees the ability to choose the benefits that most fit their needs while allowing employers to manage costs.” It was also advised that employers provide reactive support such as a one-off payment, as well as proactive support, such as money management and financial education.