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What Employees Want

A recruiters view.

A quick Google of the term ‘employee benefits’ brings up over a billion search results.

But one of the problems of this high level of coverage can be a lack of focus on why it’s supposed to be there – i.e. benefiting employees.

To that end, recruiters have a unique insight into exactly what employees and candidates are looking for from firms in 2019 and beyond – and how those demands are changing.


In its ‘What Workers Want Report 2018’, recruitment and HR firm Hays looked at what made a successful applicant journey. It found that almost half (49%) of employees had left a job within the first 12 months as a result of mismatched expectations set during the interview process[1].

‘One out of two people won’t consider applying if they can’t find information about one or more of the following: an organisation’s investment in staff training, career plans, commitment to diversity and inclusion, Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and employee testimonials, as examples[2].’


The number of flexible working options in the UK continues to rise. Flexible working experts Timewise say the proportion of quality jobs advertised with flexible working options now stands at 11.1% – up from 6.2% four years ago[3].

Recruiters tell the same story.

‘The biggest shift in candidate expectations has been in flexible working policies,’ says Georgia Morgan-Wynne, Manager – Commerce & Industry Division at the legal, compliance & risk recruiters Taylor Root.

‘We’ve noticed businesses that aren’t able to offer flexible working from home or flexibility on, say, core hours are much harder to attract talent to. Businesses where you can work from home have a higher attraction rate.’


There is increasing understanding that working culture and practices are directly linked to an individual’s well-being. Research from Business in the Community shows that 85% of line managers acknowledge that employee well-being is their responsibility[4].

But there is work to be done to turn this into practical action.

In the CIPD’s ‘Reward Management report – 2018’, Dipa Mistry Kandola, Head of Flexible Benefits Service at LCP, says: ‘While “well-being” is the latest buzz term, the reality from our results finds that few are doing or planning much in this space […] The Government and UK policy-makers
are taking steps towards bettering the UK’s overall financial and mental well-being.’


For recruiters, one thing that continues to dominate conversations with candidates is the issue of workplace culture.

‘Not only is workplace culture a significant conversation, it’s often what will determine if someone applies for a position or dismisses it outright,’ says Napora, a Recruiter. ‘One of the main reasons we see candidates registering is due to culture not hitting the mark. There are some things
that money can’t buy, and a strong, collaborative culture is most certainly one.’


‘Employee benefits’ is a wide-ranging term. As such, employers face a tough task in attempting to provide support and benefits for each individual.

But that is the task in hand. Strong candidates know their worth and employers must work hard to attract the best talent – and, to apply the same logic, retain the best talent.

Ryan Oates APFS BSc
Corporate Services Manager
Chartered Financial Planner
t: 01603 760866

Source data:

[1] Hays. (2018). What Workers Want Report 2018, p1
[2] Hays. (2018). What Workers Want Report 2018, p1
[3] Timewise. (2018). The Timewise Flexible Jobs Index 2018
[4] Business in the Community. (2018). Mental Health at Work 2018 Report, p56

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