Article by Clodagh Murphy April 17th, 2023

What are South West Employers Offering Their Employees

Last month, we asked our clients to share details of their employee benefits packages, so we could review what's on offer to help employers with their attraction and retention strategies.

Surprisingly we didn't see a correlation between the size of the business and the number of benefits. Some of the smaller companies that responded offer as many, if not more, benefits as their larger counterparts. And while we saw plenty of instances of what have become relatively standard benefits (free eye tests and private medical insurance, for example), some employers are responding to today's life challenges with alternative offerings.

Overall, we found the professional services sector to offer the most comprehensive employee benefits package.

Here's a breakdown of the specific benefits on offer.

Financial benefits

On top of an employee's salary, many employers offer financial benefits. For example, over half of our respondents provide enhanced sick/maternity/parental pay, and the same number provide life assurance (three or four times salary).

Six of our respondents offer a bonus or profit share scheme, and five provide a reward for referring new customers or recruits.

Other financial benefits in the mix include:

  • Staff discount

  • Discounted shopping and cashback offers via a reward gateway

  • Cycle to work schemes

Annual leave

Most of our respondents provide a minimum of 25 days of annual leave plus bank holidays. At opposite ends of the spectrum is one employer that offers 22 days plus bank holidays and one that provides 33 days plus bank holidays.

On top of the standard annual leave allowance, some employers offer:

  • The opportunity to buy or sell annual leave

  • Rising holiday entitlement with length of service

  • An extra day off on an employee's birthday and/or during the Christmas period

Health and wellbeing

Health and wellbeing are top of the agenda for many employers, with over half of our respondents offering some form of benefit to support their employees' health and wellbeing. Specific benefits include:

  • Access to an employee assistance programme

  • Free counselling and mental health first aiders

  • Premium access to the Calm app

  • Free personal training sessions

  • A bi-monthly "Wellbeing Friday" where employees can spend the day doing anything they like

  • Free or discounted gym membership


As we mention in the introduction, some employers have become more creative with employee rewards. Some standouts from our respondents include:

  • Free HRT prescriptions

  • Onsite free, organic meals

  • Menopause training

  • The opportunity to exchange one day's leave for time off in one or two-hour chunks

  • Option to take a month-long sabbatical after three years of service

  • Electric car scheme

What's clear from our survey is that all employers are stepping up when it comes to meeting employee needs and demands. Gone are the days when an annual staff party and pension plan ticked the employee benefit box. Instead, employers that can be creative and flexible with their employee benefits scheme will be more attractive to the ever more discerning employee and stand a better chance of employee loyalty.

Candidate expectations in the main focus around hybrid working and, in some cases, remote working.  Flexibility remains high for most as they seek employers that allow flexibility on how their time is managed rather than rigid start and end times.  More requests for flexible ways to work the standard 37.5 hours with longer/shorter days to fit in with family/personal life etc.  Employers who have not embraced an element of hybrid working and require support staff to be based in the office 5 days a week are struggling more than other companies to recruit as a result.

If you would like advice/guidance on what you should be offering your employees, please get in touch.

Article by Clodagh Murphy

April 17th, 2023

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