Benefits packages are missing the mark

Mar 30 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

UK companies are failing to tailor benefits packages to the changing demographic profile of their employees, new research claims, and are relying too heavily on traditional perks such as medical insurance and company cars.

According to a report by The Work Foundation and Employee Benefits magazine, only one in five of the UK workforce will be made up of white, middle-aged, middle class males by 2010.

But despite this, the benefits packages offered by many organisations still lack flexibility. According to Employee Benefits Magazine editor, Debi O’Donovan: "Too many firms offer benefits aimed at white, middle-class males and this is partly because many boards are still of the same profile.

"It is going to take a long time to get them to change," she added.

More than four out of ten employers feel their benefits packages are out of date, and a mere one in seven offer flexible benefits, although a further quarter are either designing or considering a flexible scheme.

Six out of ten firms said that they offered company cars to selected staff. The same proportion provided a private healthcare scheme, but in only four out of ten firms is this offered to all employees.

The research also suggested that firms were failing to realise that benefits could be a powerful magnet to attract and retain top talent in an increasingly tight labour market.

Stephen Bevan, director of research at the Work Foundation, said that employees increasingly wanted to "pick and mix" their own benefits and urged employers to adapt their offerings if they wanted to attract the top candidates in a tight labour market.

"The bad news is that workforce demographics are set to change still further, so many aspects of employee reward and recognition will need to be refreshed," he stated.

"It's no longer the case that employee benefits have a long shelf-life — they must be constantly refreshed to keep them relevant and motivational."