Employers can beat the hiring crisis by improving key benefits

01 October 2021 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read

Current staff shortages will leave businesses desperate for new hires. However, a new study suggests employers could do much more to lure prospective employees to their companies – with a clear disconnect present between staff expectations for benefits, and those offered in job listings.

A squeeze on skilled employees has long been on the cards, with experts predicting for several years now that it was set to put pressure on companies around the world. As with so many other long-term trends, the Covid-19 pandemic has served as a catalyst to finally see this prophecy fulfilled. As workers with in-demand skills leverage their position to demand better pay and conditions for their labour.

It is not only remuneration that workers are interested in, however. If employers hope to get an edge on the competition, and beat the hiring crisis, they must also focus on delivering prospective staff with a number of sought-after benefits.

Most Important Work Perks and Top Ten Work Perks

A new study from consumer experience specialist Moneypenny has revealed exactly what provisions people want from an employer. Having analysed 1,000 job advertisements on Indeed.com, and surveyed 1,000 office workers, the largest number of workers noted that they wanted more flexibility – but also still expected conventional benefits from employers to provide them with security.

Amid the growth of the gig economy in recent years, many studies had suggested there was a fall in conventional expectations of what staff wanted from their employers. Many reports asserted that workers were shifting more and more into freelance work, because they valued flexibility and a slight immediate pay-rise over benefits such as sick pay or pension contributions.

In this case, though, more than 42% of those polled said pensions were the benefit that mattered to them most. Meanwhile, sick pay was the second most important – ahead of flexible working hours on 40%. While the results of one study might be taken with a pinch of salt, this could arguably point to a realignment in employee values – the last two years of crisis having reminded many people of the value of long-term planning with things like pensions, and short-term security measures such as sick pay.

Problematically, many employers seem to be out of step with this shift – and if they do not look to adapt, they face the prospect of missing out on top talent. Looking at job listings on LinkedIn, Moneypenny found that while 40% prioritised a pension as an offering for staff – suggesting many go further than the statutory requirements on the matter – other top benefits were not what applicants are likely to be looking for. The next most common benefit was being able to work from home – at 21%. Meanwhile, sick pay was prioritised by just 11% of listings – placing it behind flexible working, and even gym access.

Like a pension, statutory sick pay is a legal requirement, so if an employer takes on a full-time employee, it must be paid. However, the legal rate for sick staff is £96.35. A benefit would be offering workers a full wage while off work – and the fact sick pay is so low on employers’ priorities may suggest that many do not.

Moneypenny further found that many employers have not taken stock of the current situation to boost their offering regarding compassionate support or leave. While the researchers “expected to see employers taking the initiative to go the extra mile and extend their support during mental health and emotional struggles,” it emerged that just 0.1% offered a crucial benefit of ‘child loss time off.’ Meanwhile, in the broader spectrum of mental health issues, just 0.8% said new employees can access a 24/7 first aid response for physical and mental ailments, and only 0.4% had a dedicated mental health support service.