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Number of employers offering non-financial benefits down YoY, Hays reveals

Flexible work practices, career progression opportunities and ongoing learning & development are the top three non-financial benefits employees want, yet the number of employers offering these has fallen year-on-year, according to Hays.

This follows news that the value of salary increases is also reducing year-on-year, resulting in a ‘tug of war’ between employers and employees.

Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand, said, “Non-financial benefits can help bridge the salary expectation gap, allowing employers to reward staff when they don’t have the salary budget to do so.”

According to the 2019/20 Hays Salary Guide, 83% of employers now offer flexible work practices, down from 84% last year. 70% offer ongoing learning & development, down from 73%, and 62% provide career progression opportunities, down from 66%. The offering of financial support for study and payment of employees’ own device usage charges at work have also taken a hit.

Only three non-financial benefits are offered by more employers this year compared to last: health and wellness programmes are now provided by 42% of employers, up from 41%; 21% now offer staff over 20 days’ annual leave, up from 19%; and 8% give staff a day off for their birthday, up from 7%.

“The overall drop in the number of employers offering the top benefits that employees actually want is concerning,” commented Deligiannis. “It will add to candidate attraction and retention challenges, which are already heightened in response to subdued wage growth.”

As a case in point, Deligiannis points to rising turnover, which increased for 33% of employers over the last 12 months.

In addition, data from the Hays Salary Guide shows that 53% of employees who are currently looking or planning to look for a new job in the next 12 months say a lack of promotional opportunities is one reason behind their job search. Also motivating job searches is a lack of new challenges (42%), an uncompetitive salary (41%), poor training and development (27%) and poor work-life balance (also 27%).

Moreover, the survey found that just 44% of professionals are ‘very satisfied’ or ‘extremely satisfied’ with their current level of work-life balance.

Deligiannis suggests this could be because employers need to think outside the box when deciding on the flexible benefits they can offer: “With flexibility now seen as standard, employers must think beyond compressed working weeks or staggered start and finish times to stand out and attract and retain the top talent. Think about what other genuine work-life balance solutions you can offer to appeal to a wider range of candidates.

“For instance, while 75% of employers offer flexible working hours or compressed working weeks, other popular flexible work practices include part-time employment (73%), flex-place, such as working from home or an alternative location (66%), flexible leave options, such as purchased leave (36%), job sharing (26%), career breaks (16%) and phased retirements (14%).”

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