Many UK Workers Would Trade Benefits for Higher Salary: Aon Survey

August 6, 2009

Nearly half of UK workers (47 percent) would welcome the opportunity to trade off benefits in order to increase their pay, according to a survey by Aon Consulting.

Around 1,300 working adults across the UK were probed on the value they placed on employee benefits by being asked to choose whether they would be prepared to sacrifice some of their salary for better choice, or would prefer to give up benefits in order to increase their pay.

The findings showed that nearly one in two workers (47 percent) were more concerned about the immediate future and ensuring they had as much take home pay as possible. However, over a third (37 percent) did say that they would be happy to sacrifice some of their salary in order to have a greater choice in benefits.

Younger workers (those under 35) especially were less concerned about having a greater choice of benefits, with over half (54 percent) preferring to boost their pay packet. Conversely, among older workers (those over 45), there was greater understanding of the value of having more employer-sponsored benefits choice, with 44 percent willing to trade off salary for a wider choice of benefits.

In the regions, workers in Newcastle (51 percent) and Leeds (56 percent) were more likely to want to give up some of their benefits if given the option to increase their pay. Whereas workers in Manchester and Birmingham placed slightly more value on having a greater choice of benefits, with 38 percent and 41 percent respectively prepared to trade off some salary.

The benefits most favored by workers included higher pension contributions, greater illness and injury protection, extensive annual leave, training and alternative health treatments.

“Given the current economic climate, it is perhaps not surprising that the majority of workers are keen to increase their take-home pay,” said Gareth Ashley-Jones, head of flexible benefits at Aon Consulting . “However, employees need to make sure they fully understand the value of having a greater choice of benefits that in the long-term will provide perhaps greater security.”

Jones said one of the advantages of flexible benefits is that employees can choose the appropriate trade-offs between benefits and pay on a cost-neutral basis for the employer.

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