Research from Close Asset Management, which provides financial education in the workplace, has found that despite a range of flexible benefits being offered by employers in the UK, 83% of businesses that suffer from low uptake haven’t looked at ways to rectify this problem.

The two benefits that were seen to be of most interest to workers were pensions and bonuses, according to employers.
71% of employers included pensions in their benefits package, followed by childcare vouchers (38%); the opportunity to earn a bonus (36%), flexitime (26%) and a company car (25%).

The research found that the uptake on many of the benefits offered in employment such as pensions, bonuses, childcare vouchers etc is low in 16% of workplaces. Of those with a low uptake of benefits, almost half (47%) of employers said that this is an issue because staff would be more motivated if they made use of the benefits offered. Despite this, more than four in five (83%) haven’t taken any action to get their workers more engaged with the benefits they could be taking advantage of and fewer than one in 10 (8%) offer financial education, which could help better communicate the full value of benefits, give workers the chance to make more informed choices and improve their own financial planning.

Jeanette Makings, Director of Financial Education Services at Close Asset Management, commented: “Employee benefits are one of the main tools people can use to improve their own financial planning helping them to achieve their financial goals throughout their life and preparing them for financial security in retirement. Employers devote much time, budget and effort in delivering benefits packages for their employees, demonstrating their commitment to their people. With such a low level of uptake, and so few companies taking any action to improve this, staff and employers are missing out on a big opportunity. Financial education may provide the solution.

“With a tailored financial education programme, employees can be made aware of their benefits and the full impact that these can have on their own financial planning. Empowering employees in this way is both cost effective and an important step towards bridging the gap that exists between benefits being offered and those being used, to the advantage of both employers and their staff.”