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Employer pensions top priorities for workers


Offering a good pension package is a competitive advantage for UK companies

LONDON.-Pensions are the most important feature a company can offer employees, with nine out of ten saying they are either a very important or fairly important factor influencing the decision to join a company, according to a survey by Aon Consulting, the leading benefits and employee risk firm. Pensions were deemed to be slightly more of a pull factor than either promotion prospects or training and development opportunities.

With some reports suggesting that British businesses are starting to reverse their hiring freezes, companies need to be aware of what will give them the competitive edge when the time comes to attracting the top talent. In order to understand what companies need to gain the upper hand, Aon surveyed 1,300 working adults across Britain, asking them to consider how important certain factors would be if they were looking to join a company.

More people (89%) said pensions were important than any other benefit or employment feature, with training and development coming a close second (88%). Good sick pay (83%) and flexible benefits (83%) were given equal status, followed by promotion opportunities (77%). Employers’ environmental policy was less important to workers. The importance of the various factors influencing people’s decision to join a company varied significantly depending on age. For example, sentiment towards pensions differed between the older and younger workers. Only 32% of those under 35 years old rated it as very important, compared with two thirds (61%) of those aged 45 and above. In contrast, the younger workers gave greater importance to training and development (45%), as opposed to just 34% of older workers.

Gareth Ashley-Jones, head of flexible benefits at Aon Consulting commented: “Although the priority for businesses right now is keeping costs down, they should not lose sight of the fact that when conditions improve, the businesses that will come out on top are those that will be able not only to retain the best employees but also attract the top talent. Understanding employee priorities and promoting a strong, attractive employer brand is critical.

“What is evident from the findings of this survey is that companies need to be flexible in their remuneration and benefits package in order to attract expertise from all ages. This can certainly still be achieved at the same time as being cost conscious.”


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