The Value of Employee Perks & Benefits

Perks are a fundamental part of employee engagement and retention, boosting morale and creating a great place to work. Many companies are praised for their amazing perks, but how do employees really feel about what their employer has to offer? Whether you’ve just started a new job or you’ve been working for a company for years, perks and benefits tend to be a hot topic of discussion amongst colleagues. We dedicate so much of our lives to work, structuring our personal routine around it, which is why the value of perks has an ever-growing and evolving importance. So how can employer perks help employees hit the right balance between work and play?


Perks and Pay Cuts

Within the working environment, there can often be a lot of pressure to progress and hit targets, which is why the importance of flexible structure and a good work-life balance comes into play. Our latest research of 2000 employees from across the country reveals that people are keen to explore this with their employers, with many saying they’d opt for less pay for this luxury if it improved their lifestyle.

Our findings show that employees in Brighton are the most passionate about their perks, with 43.4% saying they would consider taking a pay cut for a job with great benefits. People living in cities like Newcastle (41.5%) and London (41.2%) also feel similar, suggesting that money isn’t everything.

A graphic of the map of the UK that shows what percentage of employees would take a paycut.

The Most Valuable Perks

To receive the work benefits listed below, we asked respondents how much money they’d be willing to part with on an annual basis, and food discounts topped the charts! On average, employees would part with 5% of their yearly income to receive this. Alongside food discounts, the other top benefits that stood out the most include perks that could influence their livelihoods, such as health plans (4.3%) and highstreet discounts (4.2%).

A horizontal bar graph displaying what percentage of their salary employees would part with for specific types of perks.

The Most Misunderstood Cities

Keeping your finger on the pulse of what your employees want is essential to increase the happiness of your team, make people feel valued and boost morale. When it comes to the perks you offer as a business, it’s imperative to be on the same page as your employees and to offer support that will truly benefit them and their family.

Out of the survey respondents, 59.8% said that if they had great perks, they’d be more likely to stay at a company for longer, suggesting that getting your employee perks right is vital for staff retention. The chart below reveals the cities that feel the most misunderstood when it comes to their company providing perks that actually benefit them.

A chart showing which cities feel the most misunderstood when it comes to their company providing perks that actually benefit them.

Residents of Newcastle seem to have the most misalignment around their perks, with 51.1% of people saying they felt misunderstood by their employer. This is also reflected by 67% of Geordies who think companies should offer more perks as standard. Other major cities also feel misunderstood over their work benefits, with the likes of Manchester (45.8%), Birmingham (44.9%), London (43.1%) and Liverpool (43%) all following with similar results.


Most Desired Perks

Many companies also offer a selection of alternative perks, ranging from beauty budgets for staff to pamper themselves to paid pawternity leave, which is a welcome relief for 31.4% of employees who say they would be more inclined to get a pet if their work was more flexible around this.

Other companies also provide nap rooms for tired employees, which is most desirable to younger workers aged 16-24 audience (66.4%), and less of a priority for employees aged over 55 (27.6%). Looks like the next generation of workers might require a bit more downtime in order to push on with the day.

Fertility treatments are an interesting perk favoured by employees, with 29.8% of respondents overall saying they would have had children sooner if their work offered parental benefits. It was found to be particularly common amongst 36.9% of higher earners (those earning over £55,000). This may be due to the increase in responsibility and a busy workload. In fact, 31.3% of these high earners admitted that due to a lack of flexibility at work, they have actually delayed having children.

Given the commitment required to become a parent, it's clear that childcare benefits should be a top priority for businesses to include when planning their perk and benefits strategy.

A graphic that shows te most desired employee perks by percentage.

Whether it's the more practical, everyday benefits or obscure perks you’re looking at introducing to your business, they are all very important assets in any hiring manager or HR director’s arsenal. Do remember to keep your team at the heart of your strategy and deliver perks most beneficial to them.

You can also find more information about our leading employee benefits platform here.

Survey data was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Sodexo. 2000 respondents were surveyed between 30.11.2020 - 4.12.2020. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which are based on the ESOMAR principles.