So Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really, Want!

25th August 2021

Posted In: The Topic

The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) team at Morgan McKinley recently announced findings of their most comprehensive cross-sector benefits survey in Ireland. This is the first of its kind that measures employer and employee responses across the country, capturing key information on the benefit packages offered to employees from thousands of businesses. Overall, the responses to their survey represent an employee population of over 1 million across 22+ industry sectors and 30 counties.

The Morgan McKinley Ireland 2021 Benefits Survey was conducted in early 2021, where Level 5 restrictions resulting from the pandemic were applicable across Ireland and most employees (with the exception of essential workers) were requested to work from home. The company wanted to explore if Covid-19 had caused a shift in employees’ views on what benefits are important to them. They also wanted to better understand this change, if it exists, and if it has impacted, or is likely to impact the benefits offered by employers into the future.

The findings of the survey should inform employers when compiling or reassessing their benefits offering today, how it compares to other employers in their sector or to employers of equivalent size and where the corresponding expectations of employees lie.

In today’s employment market, benefits can be as important as competitive salaries in supporting candidate attraction and employee retention.

In the eyes of prospective employees, a benefits offering that aligns to an individual’s values and needs, can help employers differentiate themselves from their competitors in the ‘war for talent’.

Employees have become accustomed to autonomy and flexibility in the enforced virtual workplace. In order to safeguard a functional and healthy relationship with their workforce in this new normal, employers have needed to review their benefits offering to ensure it is fit for purpose for all of their employees, both present and future.

Key Overall Findings:

The top 5 benefits most offered by employers in Ireland are:

1 Pension   2 Paid sick Leave   3 Work from Home   4 Bonus & Incentives   5 Health Insurance

The 5 most important benefits for employees are

1 Health Insurance   2 Pension   3  Paid Sick Leave   4 Bonus & Incentives   5 Work from Home

Multinational employers have a more comprehensive benefits offering than indigenous companies:

81.2% of employees working for multinationals reported to be offered Health Insurance as opposed to 32.6% of employees working for domestic companies

The industry sectors with the highest benefits offering in Ireland are IT, Financial Services and Life Sciences

64.3% of employers having participated to the survey are considering extending remote working beyond the current Covid-19 related restrictions

Nearly one out of four employers surveyed reported to have changed their benefit package as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak

Significant Insights Per Benefit:

Pension: Pension is the most offered benefit in Ireland. The most popular pension scheme is a Defined Contribution scheme and most employers offer a plan that consists of a 5% employee contribution matched by a 5% employer contribution.

Health Insurance: 78% of employees reported their company fully subsidise their health insurance. Among these, 60% said that the employer also fully subsidised their family HI.

Work from home: Employers’ positions on this matter are highly aligned with employees’ expectations regarding working flexibly. 69.9% of employees reported that they would like to be offered a mix of remote and onsite working in the future and a further 20.5% shared their wish to only work from home.

Overall, only 13.2% of employees said that WFH during restrictions had negatively impacted their productivity.

Educational Support is highly valued by employees (it ranks 8th among a list of 28 benefits) and it is often underestimated by employers. This benefit is particularly valuable to younger employees. Employees under the age of 25 provided the highest rating for this benefit (8.4/10).

Annual Leave: In Ireland, the statutory Annual Leave entitlement is of 20 days. Nonetheless, most employers tend to offer more than this. The most common AL entitlement is 25 days with 33.8% of employees reporting to be offered this many days.

Paid sick leave: Paying an employee on sick leave is up to employer’s discretion in Ireland. Nonetheless, 67.4% of employees reported that their company provides them with paid sick leave. Having said that, more than half of the employees reported not to have taken any sick leave in 2020.

Final Considerations:

Morgan McKinley’s Report concludes with some noteworthy takeaways for employers in reviewing the effectiveness of their current benefits offering based on employee responses and include:

•Greater Explanation and Transparency of Benefits Offered by Employers Required

•Basic Wellness Benefits Appear not to be Offered by Employers

•Opportunities to Better Support Working Parents

•Educational Benefits should be Considered a Key Part of Any Benefits Offering

•Relocation Policies should be in place where seeking to attract international talent or attract talent from other locations in Ireland

Worth emphasising, given WMB’s readership demographic, is that ‘Opportunities to Better Support Working Parents’ could be a ‘game changer’ when attracting and retaining talent.

Despite the fact that 90% of employee respondents were in the 25-54 age category and arguably of parenting ages, according to Morgan McKinley’s findings, only 1.1% reported to be in receipt of any form of childcare support from their employers.

The gap in the employee need and the employer offering was widest in the area of childcare support.

While there have been some improvements in the Paid Maternity, Paternity and Parent‘s Leave offering from employers, this support is only for a short defined burst period in a parent’s lifetime. More consistent support by way of childcare costs support would be a game changer as indicated by some of the employee responses to this survey and a means for employers to engage an even more effective talent attraction and retention strategy.

You can read the full report here>>