Employees would like to pick and choose their own benefits, according to new research by Canada Life Group Insurance.
The research into flexible benefits found that 41% of employees would like the opportunity to customise their own benefits package, while just 3% have the flexibility to change their existing benefits.
Only 12% stated that they have a benefits package they have helped to build themselves.
According to Canada Life, the importance of flexibility and a package which evolves over time is demonstrated by the way in which different age groups prioritise the benefits of most value to them.
Only one-fifth (20%) of 16-24 year olds prefer a benefits package designed to look after them in the long-term, whereas this is considered far more important among those over 55 (45%).
Those in younger age groups (16-24 year olds) tend to favour immediate benefits, such as assistance with travel costs, whereas more mature employees (over-55s) look towards long-term benefits that will help them though retirement.
The research demonstrated that 38% of 16-24 year olds would choose a subsidised gym membership as part of their ideal benefits package compared with 9% of over-55s.
However, 78% of 45-54 year olds would select a pension as part of their benefits package, which falls to 62% among the 16-24 year olds.
Women value flexibility in their employee benefits package, shown by 45% compared to 36% of men. Yet they are less likely to receive any benefits at all from their employer; 56% of women compared with 46% of men have no employer-sponsored provision.
Paul Avis, sales and marketing director at Canada Life Group Insurance, said: “With people having busier lives than ever before, and with greater demands upon their finances and time, it is not surprising that a large number would like the chance to pick and choose which benefits best suit their individual needs.
“Indeed, the requirements of someone embarking upon their working life, compared with someone who may be nearing the end of theirs and looking towards retirement, are bound to be different.
“By allowing employees to have a say in the benefits that make up their overall package employers have the chance to increase morale and levels of staff retention.
“In addition, the value of an employer’s expenditure upon employee benefits is likely to be higher if employees receive exactly the benefits they require, rather than those they are unlikely to use.
“It also allows them to effectively outsource these decisions to their employees, thus ensuring that they can be provided with what they want.”
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