Christmas bonuses provide a lifeline for six in ten (58%) 18-34 year-olds as younger employees continue to struggle with rising living costs, according to new research from employee benefits technology platform, Zest.

Younger employees are much more reliant on bonuses than older colleagues as just 20% of employees aged over 55 admitted these annual rewards provided a financial lifeline.

However, of those who receive a Christmas bonus, six in ten (61%) younger employees would prefer year-round financial support such as workplace savings schemes or discount vouchers over a one-off Christmas bonus – compared to just a fifth (21%) of older employees.

Matt Russell, CEO at Zest, comments:

Many younger employees value year-round financial support much higher than a bumper one-off payment. Employers need to ensure that they’re communicating with their employees to understand the most effective approach to reward and support all employees and tailor this to the needs of specific groups across the workforce.

 Matt Russell, CEO at Zest

More than six in ten (62%) of all employees would prefer a pay rise over a bonus – however, given previous research from Zest shows that ongoing financial challenges are leading to a third (29%) of businesses admitting they’re unable to raise salaries, there is increased importance on benefits packages. Half (46%) of all employees say the benefits on offer are the most important factor when considering a new role, rising to 57% amongst younger employees.

In fact, over half (51%) of employees would leave their job if another company offered a better benefits package – again, this rises to six in ten (62%) young people.

Not only can benefit packages support employers to attract and retain talent, but they also boost employee motivation and productivity – over half (53%) of all employees say they are more motivated by their benefits package than a bonus.

Financial wellbeing in 2024

To ensure the financial wellbeing of employees in 2024, employers should consider a holistic approach, understanding the diverse needs of different age groups within their workforce. Communicating with employees to tailor reward strategies, such as implementing workplace savings schemes or discount vouchers, can contribute significantly to overall job satisfaction and retention.

Furthermore, Zest’s survey underscores the increasing importance of benefits packages, with 46% of all employees citing it as a crucial factor when considering a new role. As a substantial 62% of young employees would leave their job for a better benefits package, it is evident that organisations need to prioritise comprehensive benefit offerings to attract and retain top talent.

In a landscape where ongoing financial challenges limit the ability to provide salary raises, employers can enhance employee motivation and productivity by focusing on robust benefits packages. More than half of employees express greater motivation from their benefits package than bonuses, emphasising the pivotal role these offerings play in fostering a positive work environment.

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.