Pensions top the benefits wish-list

2003

Pensions, flexible working options and private medical insurance are the top three benefits that jobseekers look for when applying for a job with a new company, according to a new survey.

Almost nine out of ten people said that a pension was important, with three quarters putting it in their list of top three benefits. Flexible working options were cited as important by an overwhelming eight out of ten and medical insurance by more than three-quarters.

Six out of ten put flexible working in their top three and just over half included private medical insurance.

But the research, conducted by employee benefits firm youatwork, also found that as student debt is becomming an increasing issue, with more than one in four employees in their twenties now looking for some form of student debt assistance from employers when considering whether to join a new firm.

According to recent research by the Association of Graduate Recruiters, a third of UK employers are now paying joining bonuses to graduates to help with large student loan repayments while two thirds are considering general increases in the financial packages they offer graduates.

The problems employers have in attracting good graduates are exacerbated by the growing number of graduates who opt not to enter the workplace after leaving university.

Last month, a MORI poll found that fewer than a third of this year’s graduates plan to start working immediately, with more than one in five opting for post-graduate study and one in ten intending to go travelling.

The youatwork survey also revealed how priorities change for employees at different stages of their working lives. For example, more than half of employees in their thirties viewed having the flexibility to work from home as an important factor when applying for a job, while a third also wanted help from their employers with childcare.

Gerry Callaghan, managing director of youatwork, said that the survey highlights the growing demand for greater flexibility in the workplace.

"An increasing number of job-seekers are looking for jobs that will provide them with that extra incentive on top of their salary and traditional benefit package,” he said.

"An employer who not only understands the value of benefits but also the value of tailoring those benefits to workers with different needs and interests, will stand a much better chance of recruiting the best people."