More than half (58%) of employee respondents cite flexible-working hours as the benefit they value as the most important, according to research by Sodexo Engage.
Its survey of 2,001 UK adults also found that 47% of respondents identify a high salary as the benefit they value as the most important, compared to 51% of millennial respondents aged 20-35 years old.
The research also found:
- Half (50%) of respondents cite a generous pension scheme as the benefit that they value as the most important, compared to 34% of millennial respondents.
- 33% of millennial respondents identify a strong workplace culture, including regular after-work team events for example, as the benefit they view as the most important, compared to 19% of overall respondents.
- 60% of respondents aged 20-35 years old view flexible working as the most important benefit an employer can offer.
- 44% of respondents cite a generous annual leave allowance as the benefit provided by their employer that they value as the most important, compared to 41% of millennial respondents.
- Among respondents with experience of working for a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME), 12% cite higher pay than for a comparable job at a large organisation as the reason for opting to work for an SME, and 35% cite a friendlier workplace culture as the reason for doing so.
- 43% of respondents aged 20-35 years old would expect flexible working to be more likely to be offered in an SME than a large organisation, and 79% would expect a friendlier workplace culture in an SME than a large organisation.
Iain McMath (pictured), chief executive officer at Sodexo Engage, said: “Businesses face a reputational challenge to prove that those seeking a friendly [workplace] culture and ability to lead a more flexible lifestyle can do so in corporate giants.
“Although big businesses are having trouble attracting the best candidates, they’re more likely to keep them once through the door. SMEs must do more to increase loyalty amongst the workforce if they want to retain the best talent. It can often be harder for employees working for these smaller organisations to see a clear progression path after reaching senior positions, and the added benefits that come with larger employers can be a big draw. However, considering the diversity of today’s workforce, businesses of any size need to ensure that every individual always feels motivated and appreciated.”