Employee benefits sustained despite the gloomy outlook

Moxham: “Extremely encouraging that most businesses recognise value of healthy benefits package for staff”

The majority of employers remain convinced of the importance of offering a full benefits package, despite the difficult economic conditions of the past 12 months, according to research carried out for Grid.

84 per cent of companies questioned in Grid’s second annual employer research study said the value of their benefits package had been maintained over the past 12 months. And 37 per cent are considering increasing their investment in benefits during 2011.

Over a third of employers with group risk benefits believe they help recruit and retain key personnel.

But this positive trend is not replicated throughout the business community, with smaller companies still struggling with managing the costs of providing staff benefits. Nearly one third, 32.6 per cent, of companies with fewer than 20 employees claim that offering staff group risk protection benefits such as life assurance, income protection and critical illness cover is too expensive for their business.

But group risk benefits have gained in popularity during the course of 2010. The survey of 500 employers conducted in October 2010 found that 41 per cent currently provide life cover, income protection or critical illness cover to their workforce, compared with 37 per cent a year earlier.

When asked why they offered these benefits, 52 per cent of employers with group risk benefits said they considered group risk an essential part of their core benefits package for employees, with 37 percent believing that it helped recruit and retain key personnel. A quarter also recognised that they recoup benefit spend through increased productivity and staff morale.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Grid says: “I find it extremely encouraging to see that most businesses increasingly recognise the value of maintaining a healthy benefits package for staff. Often, when difficult trading conditions mean that salary increases are put on hold, the attractiveness of an employer’s benefit package can make all the difference when seeking to attract and retain the very best candidates for an organisation.

“By including group risk benefits in the core package, employers can mitigate the risks and associated costs of long term employee absence and provide a highly valued benefit for employees.”