More time off tops benefit wish list for UK employees

Additional paid time off is the most sought-after non-monetary perk among UK employees, according to a survey by recruitment agency Robert Half. However, finance directors (FDs) believe that flexible working hours are at the top of their employees’ wish lists, and many underestimate the demand for additional holiday and training options.

Asked which benefits they most value, 38% of the employees surveyed said extra annual leave. A more flexible schedule was a priority for 28%, and greater training and development opportunities for 16%. Twelve per cent of the UK office employees polled wanted opportunities to work remotely, and 3% prioritised other perks such as an ironing service or subsidised gym.

Meanwhile, 56% of FDs perceive flexible working arrangements to be at the top of the employee wish list, followed by additional annual leave (23%), options to work from home (9%), more training and professional development opportunities (8%), and more corporate services (5%).

The discrepancy between what staff want and what finance chiefs think they want suggests that organisations may be offering the wrong mix of benefits and are therefore missing an opportunity to boost engagement and retention.

Given the differences in perception, giving staff a say when putting a benefits plan together could help organisations ensure the rewards offered are motivating and effective for those individuals.

The insight could also help promote the company’s benefits offerings to prospective employees and provide smaller firms in particular a way to stand out to candidates in a competitive market.

Samantha White ( is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.