UK Employee Benefits Market

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This report provides a comprehensive analysis of the current employee benefits market, focusing on trends affecting this space as well as the challenges employee benefit providers and employers face. The report uses insight from our proprietary primary surveys of consumers and SMEs.

Unemployment in the UK is at the lowest level since 1975 according to the Office for National Statistics. This means job seekers are more powerful in the current market due to the sheer number of jobs available. Having a strong and competitive employee benefits offering helps attract and retain top talent, as well as making employees more productive and engaged. This report explores the different types of popular benefits being offered by employers, the challenges facing employee benefits, and how the employee benefits market is evolving.


– Companies in the mining industry are more likely to offer a wide range of employee benefits, likely because of the high risk employees in that sector agree to take on.

– Two thirds of employees not receiving a private pension would like one. Pension plans are one of the most important benefits to employees, so employers that provide this benefit will be more attractive than others.

– Three quarters of employers believe they should play an active role in supporting their employees’ mental health. However, only 17% offer an employee assistance program, which is an effective tool in helping employees deal with mental health issues.

Reasons to Buy

– Understand the employee benefits market landscape.

– Discover how perceptions of benefits differ between employees and employers in order to tailor your offering.

– Review your strategy by learning about key industry challenges and how to address them.

– Remain ahead of your competitors by understanding how the employee benefits market will evolve in the future.

Willis Towers Watson
Quantum Advisory
Reward Gateway

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


1.1. Employee benefits are crucial to attract and retain staff

1.2. Key findings

1.3. Critical success factors


2.1. Introduction

2.2. Objectives of employee benefits

2.2.1. Increased productivity

2.2.2. Attract and retain top talent

2.2.3. Increase employee engagement

2.3. Types and uptake of benefits

2.3.1. Financial protection

2.3.2. Wellness

2.3.3. Retirement planning

2.3.4. Financial incentives

2.3.5. Career development

2.3.6. Travel

2.4. Benefits providers

2.4.1. Insurance providers

2.4.2. Insurance brokers

2.4.3. Employee benefits consultants


3.1. Engagement between employers and employees

3.1.1. Employees may not know what benefits they have

3.1.2. Benefits offerings need to be aligned to employees’ needs

3.1.3. Employers need to view benefits as a way to build resilience

3.1.4. Workplace demographics are changing

3.1.5. Benefits for gig economy workers are lacking


4.1. Focus on wellbeing

4.1.1. Physical wellbeing

4.1.2. Mental wellbeing

4.1.3. Financial wellbeing

4.2. Using data to improve benefits offerings

4.2.1. Companies can benchmark their offerings against competitors

4.2.2. Aligning benefits offerings with employee wants

4.2.3. Using historical data to prepare for the future

4.2.4. Employers need to be wary about how data is collected, used, and stored

4.2.5. Aon and Reward Gateway are examples of how data can be used

4.3. New companies are innovating and challenging the space

4.3.1. Headspace focuses on mental health

4.3.2. Pensionsync helps reduce the burden of auto-enrollment

4.3.3. Perkbox wants to improve the employee experience


5.1. Abbreviations and acronyms

5.2. Definitions

5.2.1. SME

5.3. Methodology

5.3.1. GlobalData’s 2018 General Insurance Consumer Survey

5.3.2. GlobalData’s 2018 UK SME Insurance Survey

5.4. Secondary sources

5.5. Further reading


List of Figures

Figure 1: The level of concern about staff retention among SMEs

Figure 2: Types of employee benefits

Figure 3: Protection policy uptake increases in line with the size of the business

Figure 4: Three quarters of people working in the mining industry receive a healthcare cash plan

Figure 5: Flexible working is popular across all SMEs

Figure 6: IT and business services employees are most likely to have flexible working arrangements

Figure 7: Manufacturing has the highest proportion of employees receiving NEST and private pensions

Figure 8: Almost 50% of SMEs in the mining industry offer cycle to work schemes

Figure 9: The different ways SMEs organize payroll and HR duties

Figure 10: Percentage of SMEs currently providing employees with an online hub or app for their benefits

Figure 11: Basic salary is viewed as by far the most important benefit by both employers and employees

Figure 12: Employment rate for people aged 65 and over, 1992–2018

Figure 13: Three quarters of employers think they should actively support employees’ mental health

Frequently asked questions

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