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Revealed: Employees Willing to Sacrifice Salary for Other Perks

August 24, 2017
Lukas Vanterpool


Last month we surveyed 500 people in the UK, to find out how highly they valued their salary, and if they would be willing to part with a portion in exchange for other benefits.

As society begins to tire of traditional working hours and environments, employees are seeking more from their employers – and this may not come in the form of monetary compensation.

Well-known tech companies like Google have been offering their staff enviable perks for years, so in reality, it has comes as no surprise that employees are looking to those in charge to start considering the ‘employee experience’ that they are providing.

We looked at the following benefits in our survey;

• Increased Annual Leave
• Remote Working
• Reduced Working Hours
• Improved Working Environment
• Corporate Healthcare
• Corporate Dental care

Some of the results came as a surprise to us, and when the results were split into two age demographics, it became clear just how the values changed between groups.

Companies like Virgin, Eventbrite and Hubspot are all leading the way when it comes to offering their staff unlimited holiday, and from our research, it seems like this is the most desirable perk.

So much so, that 40% of respondents said that they would sacrifice between 1-5% of their current salary in return for increased annual leave, 14% would sacrifice between 6-10% and 3% would be willing to part with more than 20% of their annual salary.

When we split the age group, it revealed that it was those over the age of 35, that would be more inclined to part with more of their salary.

Other areas that were shown to be of particular importance in the over 35 age group, were both corporate health and dental care.

When it came to dental care;

• 47% wouldn’t sacrifice anything
• 47% would sacrifice between 1-5%
• 5% would sacrifice more than 20%

compared to the 18-34-year-old demographic;

• 75% wouldn’t sacrifice anything
• 20% would sacrifice between 1-5%
• 5% would sacrifice between 6-10%

As mentioned the demand for corporate healthcare showed a similar picture, with 41% willing to part with 1-5% of their salary, and 6% willing to sacrifice between 16-20% of their salary to receive corporate healthcare packages.

While the maximum that 18-34 year old respondents would forgo was between 6-10%.

As suspected, remote working and reduced working hours were deemed extremely desirable; as an emphasis is being placed on the importance of a work-life balance and the positive impact on both mental wellbeing and productivity.

The results for reduced working hours looked like this –

• 34% wouldn’t sacrifice anything
• 37% would sacrifice between 1-5%
• 13% would sacrifice between 6-10%
• 5% would sacrifice between 11-15%
• 8% would sacrifice 16-20%
• 3% would sacrifice more than 20%

When split between the age demographics, we had predicted that it would be the younger set that would express their willingness to part with more of their salary in return for shorter days, but it was in fact the over 35’s that would part with more, 5% of over 35’s would sacrifice more than 20% of their salary for reduced working hours while the 18-34 year old demographic would only part with a maximum of 20%; the majority of this demographic would sacrifice up to 5%.

While remote working saw the following results,

• 59% would sacrifice nothing
• 30% would sacrifice 1-5%
• 8% would sacrifice 6-10%
• 3% would sacrifice 11-15%

Remote working showed itself to be extremely important to the younger of the two demographics, as 18-34 years were willing to part with more of their salary than respondents from the over 35 group.

For any firms, these results should inspire them to reconsider the strategies that they are using to motivate and incentivise their employees.

Is a blanket approach a thing of the past?

As these results clearly demonstrate, our age impacts our values and changes our outlook, meaning that what motivated us at age 25, may not have the same driving force at age 40.

Previously, we had assumed that the older demographic would value money more highly, and would be less willing to sacrifice portions of their salary, due to responsibilities such as parenting and mortgages.

However, we could look to the fact that with maturity, the way we value a work life balance much more highly, and that we work to live, rather than live to work.

It seems like that at the younger generation are striving for an affluent lifestyle, and are less willing to sacrifice their salaries for other workplace benefits, other than remote working – which many employers may feel that their age at the younger end of the spectrum (18-24) means they lack the discipline to work affectively.

For the sectors that we specialise in, FMCG and Food, we would urge employers to carry out research internally, and create benefit packages based on the results, as this may also improve their ability to attract and retain younger employees and prevent so many lateral moves being made within the industry.

The key to productivity and profitability is often down to employee happiness and wellbeing, while of course, retaining staff is far less expensive them consistent recruiting – surely it makes good business sense to find the perk that will fulfil your staff.

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About The Author

Lukas Vanterpool

I started The Sterling Choice with Gareth Whyatt back in August 2013. We’ve always remained true to ourselves and what it is we’re trying to achieve – A great company with great people and great results! This journey never stops, we are always finding ways to support our colleagues and make sure they leave every day feeling fulfilled.

Over the years I’ve always been asked “what’s your USP??, what makes you different from all the other agencies??”. That’s an easy one for me to answer – “Our culture makes our business and our people make our culture”

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