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Shopping and shares on the wish list

Workers call for more flexible benefits

shopping vouchersScottish workers say they would like their employers to offer them a greater range of savings, healthcare and shopping vouchers as part of their benefits.

New research shows that flexibility is much preferred to the one-size-fits-all benefits that are widespread.

It found that by tailoring what is offered, firms could not only save valuable resources but strengthen harmony and loyalty among their workforce.

Most workers (60%) opted for higher contributions to the pension pots, while 52% wanted participation in company share schemes.

Medical insurance for themselves and their family, and company cars, were chosen by around 30% of Scottish workers, while women rated healthcare highest and men preferred transport.

The research by PwC, which conducted the survey, also revealed that:

·        discount shopping vouchers were a surprising favourite, chosen by 40% of respondents (44%-UK);

·        45% of Scots chose discounted private healthcare compared to 36% across the UK; and

·        help with mortgage rates was also popular (41% v 37% – UK)

Steve Couch, human resources partner, for PwC Scotland, said: “With people still feeling the squeeze, despite record low inflation, it’s clear that they value benefits that will save them money.

“The most popular benefits among Scots are long-term savings vehicles, with pensions and shares the most highly prized, suggesting that people recognise the need to save for the long-term rather than spend their earnings on immediate consumption.

“But innovation can also result in commercial benefits for business. By better understanding their people and the diversity of their workforce, businesses could design a reward programme that takes account of individual preference.”

The survey also suggests that employees starting out in their careers are more likely to be willing to take risks with their pay and are more attracted to the upside of variable remuneration.

Asked to swap £1,000 of their salary for the opportunity to receive a performance-related bonus of £5,000, more than a third of respondents aged under 20 agreed (36%) compared to an average across all ages of nearly half that level (20%) and 18% of those aged 40 to 59.

Bonus-related pay options also changed according to industry, with more than one third of respondents willing to work towards a larger bonus in the manufacturing and professional services industries, compared to 27% in the financial services and banking sector, and an average of only 15% in the retail, charity and public sectors.

Younger employees were also more willing to opt for workplace training, with a quarter of 18-24 year olds choosing a four-day training programme over monetary rewards. Company cars were also more popular with Generation Y, with one third (32%) of younger employees choosing a company car scheme compared to 27% of those aged 40 and older.

Other day-to-day benefits such as gym membership were also more popular among younger workers, with company gyms chosen as one of 3 most popular benefits by a fifth of respondents in their 20s and 30s compared to just 13% in their fifties.

Discounted or free food and drink was another winning choice among younger respondents. Overall a quarter of respondents chose a discounted canteen, but this rose to as many as 43% for employees aged under 20. More than half of those surveyed aged under 20 also said they would swap 5% of their salary in exchange for free food and drink at work.


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