Prudently expanding the employee benefits portfolio

Introducing financial education is a cost effective way of providing highly valued employee benefits

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Steve Cave
Published: 25 Jan 2018 Updated: 13 Jun 2022

Nearly 40% of employers actively intend to increase their benefits package in the next 12 months, with a similar number undecided about the outcome of a review.

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The potential possibilities for extending benefits are seemingly endless, and for many the potential for costs to escalate are a major fiscal and administrative barrier. However, there are ways to implement valued benefits at comparatively low costs.

Smith & Williamson recently benchmarked UK employee benefits. The research identified that, while employers understand that employees need, and would benefit from, support in making decisions about retirement saving, the reality is that little is provided as part of a benefits package.

Our research also showed that almost half of employers were concerned that employees were not making adequate provisions for retirement, particularly in light of the significant number of recently auto-enrolled workers.

One question asked of the employers surveyed and answered was:

Do you offer pre-retirement guidance or courses for employees?

Only 20% felt that the employer was responsible for providing financial education to their workforce, even though the overwhelming majority (85%) acknowledge that this would be a benefit valued by employees.

The need for, and benefit of, financial education is thrown into sharp contrast when you consider that a quarter of employees are absent from the workplace due to financial stress.

We believe that there is real competitive advantage to be gained for those employers who both effectively communicate their concern and provide a solution for their workforce, rather than relying on them to ‘find’ the information they need.

A key question from our Employee Benefits Benchmarking Research was:

Do you intend to improve your employee benefits package in the next 12 months?

For the c.40% intending to increase their package and the c.40% who are undecided, providing financial wellbeing could prove a significant differentiator in the employment market.

If you would like to know more about our Employee Benefits Benchmarking Research, we would be pleased to share our multi- layered analysis of the ‘big issues’ facing companies, sector specific trends, insight into how employer’s motivations are changing and underlying attitudinal indicators.

For more information about the research and about Smith & Williamson’s financial education workshops, please contact Steve Cave.

By necessity, this briefing can only provide a short overview and it is essential to seek professional advice before applying the contents of this article. This briefing does not constitute advice nor a recommendation relating to the acquisition or disposal of investments. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication. Details correct at time of writing.


This article was previously published on Smith & Williamson prior to the launch of Evelyn Partners.