Australian employers are not embracing employee benefit programs to help retain and attract staff, according to the results of the Employee Benefits Trends Study Australia conducted by life insurer MetLife.
The study, based on interviews with over 500 employers and 250 benefits executives, revealed only 12 per cent of Australian employers name employee benefits as an important strategy in keeping employees and competing for valued staff.
The results highlight a clear difference between employee expectations and employer beliefs.
The study found 76 per cent of employees with employer benefits were satisfied with their jobs, compared to an average job satisfaction of 45 per cent. Job loyalty among the same group stood at 73 per cent, from an average of 43 per cent.
“Global experience tells us that in a tight skills market, carefully-considered benefit programs that are well communicated to employees go a long way to attracting and retaining staff,” Deanne Stewart, Chief Executive Officer with MetLife Insurance in Australia, said.
“The benefits offered don’t have to be lavish to make a difference, but they should reflect issues that matter to employees.”
Although 53 per cent of employers said they offer formal benefits, one third do not believe staff are aware of the details of the program. This suggests that two thirds of Australian employees are likely unaware of what benefits their employer offers.
The study found 50 per cent of employees point to financial security as their key concern, followed by the ability to pay expenses when suffering a sudden loss of income.
A lack of retirement planning was highlighted in the study, which found only 29 per cent of employees believe they are on track to reach their retirement goals. 41 per cent of employees aged 50 and over revealed they had no retirement plan whatsoever.
“Australian employers need to think more creatively about what benefits they offer, to ensure they are meaningful to staff,” Ms Stewart said.
“While flexible working hours and long-service leave are already offered by most employers, many employers are yet to leverage these benefits as a significant differentiator.”