Job benefits: What do employees want most?

Tagged:Flexible working, IT Manager, Salary Report
Job benefits: What do employees want most?

What came first the chicken or the egg? In the context of IT employment, it is the same as asking what came first, engaged and innovative employees or employee benefits? We get to the bottom of what job benefits IT employees REALLY want.

In a recent survey by Ascent People we interviewed a wide selection* of candidates from within the IT industry and posed the question:

What employment benefits matter most when deciding on a company to work for, or when comparing job offers?

The results were interesting. As expected pensions and healthcare figured highly, but interestingly bonus schemes came fifth behind more tangibly perceived benefits.

Unsurprisingly 50% of those questioned believed pension benefits were top of the list. So, as the Defined Contribution Scheme enters its second year, staff are becoming mindful about future finances and secure employment. This figure was matched by healthcare benefits which was included in 48% of candidate responses.

Employees value their free time and providing good holiday allowances included in almost 4/10 lists. And this is emphasised by a similar amount stating either flexible hours or home working was a looked-for benefit.

But employees also understand that (prospective) employers want their staff to work hard, often above and beyond – but they still expect to be rewarded for this effort.

“I expect to work hard, but also have time for my family.”

“To be trusted to work ‘flexibly’ without the expectation that 50 hour weeks become the ‘norm’.”

The golden egg is obviously attaining hard working staff without having to pay through the nose to get them. Companies can go some way toward this goal by providing an enjoyable working culture. A combined 25% felt benefits including an understanding boss or a great working environment or staff development schemes, were important. Wanting to be part of a rewarding company culture was a surprising response, but one that provided the most subjective responses from candidates too:

“A flexible employer is a real asset to retain quality staff who want to have a work/life balance who may have a family and want a career.”

“A word of ‘thanks’ every now and then makes a big difference to me, but on reflection, it’s interesting to note how often that actually happens, which means the ‘right boss/right culture’ is also top of my list.”

And this one word response encapsulates this feeling:


There were some interesting responses including the need for a car parking space, a free canteen, a cycle to work scheme and even providing a monthly social club.

Benefits assisting home-life through either home working (8%), or info regarding nearby schools, help with locating accommodation and child care vouchers were included in almost 1 in 5 replies. And for the fitness-orientated 11% would like to see gym membership offered.

Almost 5% of respondents would like to see benefits associated with length of service. But for those employees that don’t feel like pumping iron, or having kids, or driving a car, or working from home, a similar amount would rather see a benefits package allowing employees to simply choose their benefits up to a certain value.

What remains clear is that if you don’t provide a good pension plan or adequate healthcare options, candidates might just start looking elsewhere.

Top 10 benefits:

Pension – 50%

Healthcare^ – 48%

Holidays – 37%

Flexible Working – 28%

Bonus^^ – 24%

Travel Allowance – 17%

Staff Development^^^ – 16%

Gym Membership – 11%

Salary – 8%

Home Working – 8%


^ also included included medical insurance, life cover, dental care, private medical care, sick pay and eye examinations.

^^ bonuses include, profit sharing, holiday incentives, share plan, annual bonus, performance bonus, quarterly bonus, achievement bonus.

^^^ also included career development opportunities, staff training, in-house and off-site courses.

* this survey was carried out using responses from over 100 candidates from our database all currently working within the IT sector.

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