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More than just a salary – employee benefits and flexible working

  • Publish Date: Posted over 4 years ago
  • Author:by MERJE

When talking to our Candidates about possible permanent roles, there has always been a key factor that will either encourage them to pursue the opportunity or instantly reject it: How much does it pay?

Salary is central to the validity of a potential new role as it reflects how the role is positioned compared to similar ones in the market, as well as the value that the organisation has attached to the role’s responsibilities. For the Candidate it allows them to benchmark the financial aspect of their next career step compared to where they currently are, and where they want to be.

In recent years though, more and more conversations with Candidates have included considerations beyond financial remuneration, as employee benefits and flexible working requirements have become significant parts of a jobseeker’s criteria. Why have these factors become so important? And what should a jobseeker be asking about when looking at the overall package?

Employee benefits

What should an employer offer, besides a salary, to make an employee feel rewarded and ‘looked after’? This is a question that all employers face. Of course, not all organisations are able to offer many benefits, but those that do can enjoy increased staff retention and employee loyalty as they are compensated for their work in addition to their pay-packet.

Employee benefits are wide-ranging, from private medical insurance and gym membership discounts, to increased holiday allowances and paid-for social events. Some benefits can have a major positive impact on an employee’s financial situation such as a car or free childcare, whereas some are more focussed on creating a happy work environment such as bring in your pet day and informal dress-codes.

These perks are often used to attract potential employees, so jobseekers shouldn’t be afraid to ask what benefits will be available to them when finding out about the role. We would not recommend demanding a benefit that has not been offered to you during the pre-acceptance negotiations though, as most benefits are typically ‘nice to haves’, but finding out what is available can help successful Candidates accept a role if the benefits are of interest.

Flexible working

Improving a work-life balance is frequently cited as a reason why someone changes jobs, which has resulted in many employers offering flexible working to encourage new people to join them as well as keep their existing teams.

The key to flexible working is providing a structure that suits both the employee and the organisation, rather than a rigid workplace and timetable with little wriggle room. This flexibility could be many things, such as later start times, work from home days, hot-desking with a laptop or time off in lieu. It may even be a significantly more formal agile working arrangement, which means that the business will have the processes and equipment in place to ensure any changes to working environment or office hours can take place seamlessly without any impact to productivity.

Employees that make use of flexible working, for instance those that live far away from their office or have family commitments, find these options are a crucial aspect of their employment. Similarly, many jobseekers will find that when researching a new role, it is the flexibility for that role to fit with their home life that motivates them to pursue the opportunity.

During the recruitment process, it may be worth Candidates discussing what flexibility is available if they have specific requirements or needs, as a large number of modern businesses will be happy to accommodate these. While many businesses do not offer flexible options, those that do could provide a structure suited to a potential applicant, and contribute to a happier working experience.

However, it’s not recommended to start asking about flexible working too early in the interview process, for instance enquiring about lunch break duration or holiday allowances during an initial telephone interview might be seen as not showing the required interest in the opportunity. The further you get in the interview process and even once an offer has been made, the more appropriate it is for these conversations.

While the points above are based on trends that we have identified across our markets whilst working with our Candidates and Clients. It’s worth noting that many job opportunities will not be able to offer what has been discussed due to employer policies and the practicalities of the role. When exploring the available overall package, it is wise to find the right balance between what is ideally wanted from a new role and what can realistically be offered.

If you are looking for the next step in your career in Compliance, Credit Risk & Analytics, Customer Contact, Finance & Audit, Financial Crime & Fraud, Procurement or Risk Management, get in touch to see if MERJE can help you.