SMEs aware of the benefits of flexible options

A growing number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are offering flexible benefit schemes to their employees, according to professional services firm KPMG.

A survey carried out for KPMG by Opinion Leader Research showed that 25% of SMEs offer flexible benefits, with another 18% planning to introduce such a scheme in the next 12 months.

Ian Hopkinson, partner at KPMG, said: “These statistics are encouraging, as it shows an interesting change in attitudes towards flexible benefits.

“This has to be good news for the UK workforce, and is a sign that such schemes are more widely recognised as effective recruitment and retention tools,” he added.

However, 74% of the employers surveyed do not offer flexible benefits schemes, and of those that do not, more than three-quarters state that they have no intention of introducing one.

“The results of the survey show that there is still some way to go to help the remaining companies understand the true value of such schemes,” said Hopkinson.

He said that this was down to the “myth” that flexible benefits schemes were costly or impractical, and that some organisations still confuse flexible benefits with flexible working hours.

“Small businesses are bound to be more focused on their cost base and many simply perceive any kind of flexible benefit as a cost they simply cannot afford,” Hopkinson said.

“In fact, what they do not realise is that by introducing flexible benefits, such as childcare vouchers, extra holiday days, computer leasing and subsidised staff lunches, they can actually save money overall.”

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