Government backs IT perks

Jan 29 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Businesses are increasingly keen to offer their employees non-cash benefits in addition to the traditional salary – and the government is happy to help.

Research by the Institute of Directors (IoD) in association with the government’s Office of the e-Envoy has found that 85 per cent of respondents said they now offer higher pension contributions, private healthcare and assistance with the costs of out-of-hours study in a bid to attract the right staff.

George Cox, IoD Director-General, said that such non-cash benefits were also a useful way of encouraging a loyal and motivated workforce.

“Modern employers have to be more imaginative with their remuneration packages: they know that salary alone is no longer enough to attract the best staff,” he said.

“In an increasingly competitive market, employees are looking to top up their salaries with benefits that will make a real difference to their quality of life. That might mean a better pension or a grant to cover the costs of part-time study outside office time.

“The challenge for policy-makers is to find ways of linking this demand for more flexible remuneration to schemes that meet the nation’s need for stronger skills in areas such as IT."

The research coincides with the government’s 'Home Computer Initiative' that is designed to be both a perk for an employee and an IT skills boost for an employer. The scheme provides a tax break for employees who use a home PC loaned to them by the employer.

Andrew Pinder, e-Envoy, said that the scheme would benefit the UK’s competitiveness.

"This survey demonstrates the importance of salary sacrifice schemes in recruiting and keeping the best staff. 73 per cent of employers questioned said that felt their organisation could benefit from offering a Home Computing Initiative scheme to their employees. Additionally, a recent NOP survey showed that 61 per cent of employees with computers at home believed their IT skills had improved as a result.

"The Government this month launched the Home Computing Initiative guidelines to help employers implement such schemes which have the potential to impact on UK competitiveness.”