Arup boosts benefits take up among generation Y staff


EXCLUSIVE: Arup has seen increased take up of the benefits it offers to cater for generation Y employees.

The organisation takes on around 200 to 300 graduates a year, which has changed what employees want from the firm.

As a result, the professional services firm has seen take up of new benefits, such as travel insurance, increase among younger employees from 5% to 20%.

Other new benefits introduced to its flexible benefits scheme include a computer salary sacrifice scheme, which has seen more than half of selections made by those under the age of 30. 

Evan Davidge, head of reward at Arup, said: “As quick wins, the benefits were introduced because they were of more value to them than traditional group risk benefits.

“Therefore we increased the individual flex funds of junior graduates, introduced employee discounts and revised our flexible benefits with a new travel insurance policy and personal computer schemes.

“These benefits complimented other benefit such as bikes for work, which reached a landmark 1,000 certificates earlier this year.”

Communications boosted take up

The increase in take up stems from a change in the organisation’s benefits strategy. It approached this by listening to what younger employees wanted through various communication channels such as focus groups, surveys and its early careers group.

A constant theme for the employer has been the greater importance younger employees place on lifestyle and consumer benefits.

Davidge said: “There is a huge demographic change coming into the workforce and we are also against a global dearth of professional engineers. It’s a shrinking pool of talent to some degree.

“We had to change the offering because we could not offer younger staff and new people coming through the doors benefits that were four to five years old.

“The introduction of these selected benefits was about managing this challenge going forward.”

Flexible working policies

As part of its need to focus on the new generation of employees, Arup has also restructured its flexible-working policies and sabbatical leave to tune into being a more flexible employer.

It also focused its total reward statements towards generation Y employees and introduced paper-based statements.

Davidge said: “It was a calculated risk introducing paper statements in a high-tech business but it was to target the younger segment who did not have a great understanding of the package.

“We have seen a significant upturn in the understanding and value from employees. For example, results from our Working at Arup attitude survey showed satisfaction in benefits had increased to 79%, which is particularly felt by younger employees who have seen benefit enhancements more in line with their preferences.”

Arup has been nominated for ‘Best alignment of benefit to business strategy’, ‘Best flexible benefits plan – small employer’ and ‘Benefits team of the year’ at the Employee Benefits Awards 2015.