Pension schemes most commonly-offered benefit

A pension plan is the most commonly-provided benefit offered by employers to staff, followed by investment in training and development, which remains a priority for organisations despite the economic downturn.

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) 2009 Annual Reward Management Survey, 95% of employers offered a pension plan to all their employees last year, making it the most common perk, followed by training and development (offered by 71% of employers), 25 days’ or more paid leave (67%), free tea and coffee (62%) and Christmas parties (60%).

Charles Cotton, reward adviser at the CIPD, said: “Training and development tends to hold up well [in economic difficulty]. It may be that it is now being recognised as part of total reward and something that can attract or retain staff.”

Training and development was particularly prominent in the voluntary sector, with 83% offering the perk. Onsite car parking (84%) and 25 or more days’ holiday (77%) topped the list in the manufacturing and production sector, while Christmas parties (77%), and free tea and coffee (75%) were most common in private sector services firms.

The report, which surveyed 503 organisations employing about one million staff, revealed that where perks are offered only through a flex scheme, dental insurance (9%) was the most common, followed by childcare vouchers (6%) and critical illness cover (5%).