A nation divided over flex ben choices

Wide regional and gender variations exist between the flexible benefit choices made by UK employees, according to research covering 140,000 employees carried out by Vebnet.

People in the South West are the most likely to increase their pensions savings, with 17 per cent doing so compared to a national average of 10 per cent. And 20 per cent more men than women have increased the amount they contribute to their pension.

Workers in the South East appear to be the most concerned about looking after their health, with the highest take-up rates for private medical and dental insurance. Employees in Scotland have the lowest take-up for these benefits.

Employees aged 26 to 35 have the greatest concern over injuries as the result of an accident (showing the highest take-up of personal accident insurance), while the 36 to 45 age group are more worried about serious illness (highest take-up of critical illness insurance). However, the Northern Irish have a particular focus on both issues, with take-up of critical illness insurance and personal accident insurance being 3 times and 4 times the national average respectively.

Just under 20 per cent of employees use their flexible benefit plan to vary the amount of annual leave they can take, although a third more females than males take advantage of this flexibility. Extra time off work is most popular in the South West (23%) and least popular in Scotland (just 14%). There is also a steady decline across age groups, with younger employees varying their annual leave much more than their older colleagues.