Employee Benefits Take the Spotlight as "War for Talent" Hots up

Date: 08/03/2019
Author: Lucy McCormick
Company: Hurst & Co Accountants LLP

Speaking at a recent HURST event, Pareto Financial Planning’s Alan Makinson said employee benefits have become a key part of the changing workplace landscape.

The number of people in work in the UK stands at a record high and the unemployment rate is at its lowest since 1975.

Consequently there is a ‘war for talent’ as employers seek to stand out from the crowd to attract and retain the best staff.

Alan, who leads Pareto’s dedicated employee benefits team, gave a presentation at a summit held at our offices in Stockport.

Pareto has partnered with HURST to provide entrepreneurial clients with an additional financial planning service.

Alan updated the audience on the sector as a whole while also speaking about the opportunities and potential pitfalls regarding employee benefits.

He said companies are now offering more and improved benefits, including those which focus on employee wellbeing, while at the same time jobseekers are increasingly expecting an attractive package when considering a new role.

Employee benefits are regarded as a key element of efforts to retain, reward and attract staff as well as looking after the workforce, said Alan.

“There is a war for talent. As a result, employers are using benefits to stand out from the competition,” he told the gathering.

Alan added that employers increasingly recognise a link between staff wellbeing and productivity and many have introduced a range of perks which reflect this concern.

However, traditional benefits such as workplace pensions are still viewed by employees as the most valuable, ahead of benefits such as childcare vouchers, private medical cover, life insurance, cycle-to-work incentives, gym membership and retail or leisure discounts.

Alan, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the sector, said companies often neglect reviewing the benefits they have in place, and he cited several examples which demonstrate the importance of a regular evaluation.

Alan also highlighted changes to minimum pension contribution rates which come into force in April. He urged employers to regularly review their pension costs and their providers, and to consider salary sacrifice schemes to achieve savings.

He also urged the audience to review their traditional employee benefits, and spoke about the importance of providing financial education to staff.
There is a growing desire for financial education in the workplace, which can help reduce stress and increase motivation.

It helps staff to understand the value of the benefits on offer, and the impact on them, said Alan.

Adam Hogwood, of the UK’s leading employee benefits provider Caboodle Technology, also spoke at the event.