Flexible benefits offerings on the increase

A growing number of employers are offering a wide choice of benefits to their staff, as they seek to recruit and retain professionals with sought-after skills, research reveals.

A survey of 500 companies, by research firm Computer Economics, reveals that the proportion of employers offering flexible benefits rose from 30% in 2004 to 43% last year.

“There has been a significant increase in flexible benefits year on year,” said Trevor Morris, director at Computer Economics. “Companies realise they need to improve their benefits if they want to be thought of as an employer of choice.”

A growing number of companies are offering staff the ability to work from home – up from 63% in 2004 to 77% in 2005, the survey shows.

The proportion of firms offering childcare arrangements has risen from 19% to 29%, as more employers seek to encourage women to return to work following maternity leave.

More than 90% of organisations provide private medical cover for at least some of their staff, and about 40% allow employees the option of extending medical cover to their families.

On the negative side, the number of firms offering final salary pension schemes fell from 30% in 2004 to 20% in 2005. Employers contributed between 6.5% and 8% of salaries to schemes, with employee contributions averaging 5%.

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