UK employees bemoan overcomplicated and gimmicky workplace benefits

UK workers put flexible working top of the list for most wanted benefits, followed by the option to work from home and unlimited paid holiday

82% of UK workers think their employers offer overcomplicated and hard to use or claim workplace benefits, according to new research from recruitment firm Michael Page.

64% of the 1,000 adults surveyed believed businesses invest in expensive benefits they neither want nor need, while 70% said workplace perks such as massages were a “gimmick”.

In fact, practical benefits were much more likely to top employees’ wish lists, with flexible working the most desirable (71%), followed by the option to work from home (55%), unlimited paid holiday (46%), a company  car or subsidised/ free travel (43%) and weekly free lunches (41%).

While 73% of those surveyed said benefits factor into their decision to turn down a job, 52% said there was no opportunity to negotiate over the benefits package during their last interview. Another 37% did not know what their benefits package involved before accepting their current job and 65% were surprised to find out about a particular benefit after working in their position for some time.

In total, 20% of respondents stated they they were happy with their current benefits package and 85% said a flexible benefits package would make a job more desirable.

Oliver Watson, executive board director for UK and North America at PageGroup, commented: “Whether you’re an employer scouting for new talent, or a candidate searching for a new job, the benefits package on offer needs to match both parties’ expectations.

“Yet while we may be accustomed to negotiating a starting salary, discussing more tailored benefits is rarely given the same priority – resulting in neither party getting an agreement that drives engagement for an employee and performance for an employer.”

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