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SMEs looking to increase pensions and benefits for staff

13 February 2019

Small and medium sized business owners are set to place greater emphasis on benefits and pensions over the next two years in an effort to boost retention and recruitment levels, new research has shown.

In MetLife’s study of companies employing between 50 and 300 staff – which make up around 34,000 businesses across the UK – over half (57%) of firms surveyed said they plan to increase benefits.

Nearly a quarter (24%) plan to significantly increase their employee benefits package, while a third (33%) said they will expand the benefits on offer by adding additional services or enhancing terms.

Companies employing between 100 and 199 staff were found to be the most likely to significantly increase benefits, with 27% vowing to offer new benefits compared with just 19% among companies with 200 to 300 staff.

Benefits which address health and wellbeing were popular, with 19% of senior managers saying it would be their first choice, while 11% said they would like to see benefits which are suitable for employees who work from home.

Adrian Matthews, employee benefits director, MetLife UK, said: “SMEs are very much focused on retaining and recruiting staff and increasingly recognise the role that a well-designed benefits package can play in addition to salary. Smaller employers are already competing for staff with large corporates on pay and business profile and may struggle to attract and retain skilled employees if they cannot offer the benefits that many now expect at work.”

The study showed that for many business owners, benefits were found to play a major role in engaging and motivating their staff, with nearly a quarter (24%) stating that regularly communicating their benefits package helps drive employee engagement.