Employers in the UK are increasing investment in employee benefits packages as they attempt to gain a competitive edge in the race for talent, new data from benefits provider, Zest, reveals.  

Nearly half (48%) of employers say they have boosted investment in their benefits package over the last 12 months in response to the changes in the economic climate. The research highlights the challenges businesses are facing in today’s competitive job market, with four in ten (42%) businesses are now grappling with recruiting difficulties.

Increased competition for talent has meant more than a third of employers (36%) now worry they can’t keep up with competitors’ raising salaries and won’t be able to attract or retain the right talent.

However, the research also highlights the shifting priorities amongst prospective employees with many now putting greater weight on workplace flexibility and personalised benefits.

Amidst the aftermath of the pandemic, employees are reconsidering what they really need from their employers. Employees struggling to recruit said that while pay remains an important factor, demand for flexible work terms (48%) is now the biggest factor hindering their recruitment efforts.

This demand from candidates now narrowly beats out salary (46%) as the biggest factor in struggles with hiring talent, closely followed by demands for better employee benefits packages (43%).

Commenting on the findings, Matt Russell, CEO at Zest, said:

When it comes to benefits, employers should prioritise packages that can be individually tailored. Even the most cost-effective rewards can be incredibly successful if it effectively meets the needs of employees on a personal level.

Matt Russell, CEO at Zest

Zest’s research also highlights how important a role benefits play in a company’s ability to meet evolving employee demands. Whereas only 27% of employers attribute missed talent acquisition opportunities to their inability to raise salaries, 43% pinpoint failure to offer accessible and comprehensive benefits packages as the critical contributing factor.

Recognition and rewards are a cost-effective way for companies to keep up with the competition and recruit talented people. The findings show that a holistic benefits strategy paired with flexible working practices can help set businesses apart.

Joanne Swann, Content Manager, WorkWellPro
Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.