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Employers piling more resources into employee benefits in attempt to stay ahead of competitors  

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Employers in the UK are increasing investment in employee benefits packages as they attempt to gain a competitive edge in the race for talent, new data from benefits provider, Zest, reveals.  

Nearly half (48%) of employers say they have boosted investment in their benefits package over the last 12 months in response to the changes in the economic climate. The research highlights the challenges businesses are facing in today’s competitive job market, with four in ten (42%) businesses now grappling with recruiting difficulties.  

Increased competition for talent has meant more than a third of employers (36%) now worry they can’t keep up with competitors’ raising salaries and won’t be able to attract or retain the right talent.  

However, the research also highlights the shifting priorities amongst prospective employees with many now putting greater weight on workplace flexibility and personalised benefits. 

Amidst the aftermath of the pandemic, employees are reconsidering what they really need from their employers. Employees struggling to recruit said that while pay remains an important factor, demand for flexible work terms (48%) is now the biggest factor hindering their recruitment efforts.   

This demand from candidates now narrowly beats out salary (46%) as the biggest factor in struggles with hiring talent, closely followed by demands for better employee benefits packages (43%).  

Commenting on the findings, Matt Russell, CEO at Zest, said: “There’s no doubt that it’s an employees’ market out there right now and more than ever employers need to work to understand candidates’ unique needs in the race to recruit, motivate and retain great talent. 

“As candidates demand more flexibility in their working lives, employers must rise to that challenge by offering working arrangements and benefits that are also sufficiently flexible and personalised.  

“When it comes to benefits, employers should prioritise packages that can be individually tailored. Even the most cost-effective rewards can be incredibly successful if it effectively meets the needs of employees on a personal level.” 

Zest’s research also highlights how important a role benefits play in a company’s ability to meet evolving employee demands. Whereas only 27% of employers attribute missed talent acquisition opportunities to their inability to raise salaries, 43% pinpoint failure to offer accessible and comprehensive benefits packages as the critical contributing factor.  

Recognition and rewards are a cost-effective way for companies to keep up with the competition and recruit talented people. The findings show that a holistic benefits strategy paired with flexible working practices can help set businesses apart.  

Zest is an employee benefits platform that offers flexible benefits services for a wide range of well-known businesses across the world, including Hargreaves Lansdown, Taylor Wimpey, ADP and Travis Perkins.    

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