POSTED: March 21 2017
Flexible working seen as more important by employees than Pension

Flexible working seen as more important by employees than Pension

A recent survey commissioned by Aviva has once again highlighted that considerable work still needs to be done to raise the importance and understanding of core employee benefits.

The importance of benefits to attract and retain staff that give immediate gratification and makes employee lives easier now, rather than in the future, should give concern. More focus needs to be placed on education to ensure staff understand the value of Pensions and protection insurances for under 35s.

The headlines of the survey were:

  • Holiday allowance (46%) and flexible working hours (33%) are seen as more desirable than pension contributions (24%)
  • Under-35s value free on-site car parking (14%) as much as health insurance (15%) or pension contributions from employers (15%)
  • Over-35s (30%) are twice as likely to prioritise pension contributions compared to under-35s (15%)

Aviva found that UK employees are more motivated by the amount of holiday allowance (46%) and flexible working hours (33%) offered by employers than workplace pension contributions (24%) when they size up a job move, new research from Aviva reveals, as people prioritise living in the here and now over saving for the future.

When asked about the most attractive perks when looking for a new job, aside from salary, pensions fall into third place. This is true for all age groups, although a higher percentage of over-35s see the value of pension contributions (30%, compared with just 15% of under-35s). Other desirable benefits across all ages include health insurance (16%) and free car parking on site (15%).

Top five most attractive perks for employees (aside from salary)

All Under 35 Over 35
The amount of holiday allowance 46% 41% 49%
Flexible working hours/ability to work from home 33% 30% 34%
Size of employer pension contribution 24% 15% 30%
Medical/health insurance 16% 15% 16%
Free car parking on site 15% 14% 15%


Younger workers prioritise immediate benefits over higher pension contributions

When presented with various benefit package options, workers under the age of 35 are more likely to opt for lower pension contributions in return for more immediate perks.

More than two in five (42%) under-35s would choose a benefits package including employer pension contributions of 4% of salary plus subsidised refreshments, gym membership and travel. Only 18% would opt for a package with double the amount of pension contributions (8%) but no other perks.

However, the opposite is true of older workers, with 48% of over-35s willing to sacrifice more immediate gratification to receive an 8% employer pension contribution.

Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings and Retirement at Aviva, commented:

“The findings provide a sober reminder that our work is far from done when it comes to helping people take full advantage of workplace pensions and save enough to be comfortable when they retire. While other workplace perks are important, pension prospects should be right up there with promotion opportunities when looking for a new job.

“As hundreds of thousands of employees start their auto-enrolment journey this year, more must be done to help employees appreciate the importance of saving for their future and the value of a pension in doing so.”


Aviva survey details: The research was conducted by Censuswide, with 1,208 full or part-time employees aged 18+ in GB between 2nd and 6th December 2016. The survey was conducted from a random sample of UK adults. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

You can view the Aviva press release here.