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Research reveals that UK workforce crying out for financial help from employers

New research from Ceridian and Vebnet*, market leading providers of HR outsourcing and rewards and benefits services respectively, has revealed that the UK workforce are crying out for financial support from their employers. The survey of more than 1000 employees revealed that over a quarter of those surveyed are looking for more help from employers in making their monthly salary go further, and an additional one in five need help to pay off growing debts.

Financial concerns were a resonating theme throughout the survey findings. Half of the respondents stated ‘day-to-day’ survival as their top financial priority, with a further 14% placing debt repayment at the top and almost one in four looking to secure their financial position by saving money. However, whilst employees are urging their employers to do more, it seems only a quarter have seized the opportunity to offer support in the form of new or flexible benefits.

With 79% of employees stating they would be inclined to stay with their current employer post-recession if they were given more support through their benefits package, it begs the question whether employers can afford not to think creatively where rewards are concerned.

The research findings also suggest HR professionals may face further challenges when the upturn arrives, with more than a quarter of employees planning to renegotiate their pay and benefits package and one in five looking for a promotion.

The current economic climate has been tough for all and with only tentative signs of recovery; employers can’t afford to be complacent. HR professionals are having to think creatively to satisfy cost control and reduction needs whilst maintaining employee engagement, motivation and productivity. with a gradual move out of recession expected for most businesses this looks unlikely to change in the longer-term. With flexible benefits widely recognised as a useful tool to maintain engagement, it is worrying that more employers haven’t identified this relatively low cost opportunity to offer relevant support. As thoughts turn towards 2010 and beyond, employers should be preparing now for how they will manage employee expectations when the upturn arrives. Jennifer Stacey, Chief People Officer, Ceridian

Of those who had received support, 22% felt these new benefits had helped them financially and more than a third felt this support had helped their health and wellbeing. It would seem these benefits are extremely valuable to employees at a time when many households have been reduced to single salaries and pressures to maintain financial security are mounting.

With almost one in five reporting negative feelings towards their employer due to the lack of support received throughout the recession, employers should be doing all they can to communicate the full range of benefits available. Providing access to wellbeing services through an employee assistance programme and offering tax savings through salary sacrifice to ease financial pressure are just some of the ways employees can be supported at this time. With the knock on effect being a more engaged, productive and profitable workforce, the benefits for businesses can be significant. Richard Morgan, Director of Consultancy Services at Vebnet.

*The Changing Face of Reward research surveyed more than 1000 employees across all UK business sectors and is available from www.ceridian.co.uk/changingface

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