Perks Pass Pay in the Recruitment Race: Companies Shower Staff with Benefits as 45% of HR Directors Report Hiring Challenges

20th October 2021

  • Employee benefits such as private health insurance have overtaken pay rises as the number one incentive being used by employers desperate to attract recruits
  • 45% of HR directors are grappling with hiring challenges as labour shortages bite, and 47% have hiked wages faster than usual in an effort to woo candidates
  • Private healthcare is the most commonly offered non-financial perk, followed by flexible working hours and improved pensions, according to new research by Indeed Flex

London, 20th October 2021 – Non-financial perks have overtaken pay rises as the number one incentive used by employers to attract new recruits, according to new data from Indeed Flex, the online marketplace for flexible workers.

The findings come against the backdrop of an increasingly tough hiring environment. Official data shows there were 1.1 million vacancies across the UK in the three months to September, and Indeed Flex’s survey of HR directors found that 45% are struggling to find enough candidates to fill vacancies. 39% predict further problems in the near future.

One in seven HR directors (14%) say they are experiencing challenges filling vacancies at all levels, including senior and managerial positions.

Only 18% of HR directors say they have no recruitment challenges, or do not foresee any problems arising in the near future.

47% of those surveyed say they have increased staff salaries “faster than usual” in an effort to attract interest from jobseekers. But 50% said they were focusing on non-financial perks including employee benefits and flexible working hours to woo potential recruits.

Private medical insurance is the most commonly offered non-financial perk, and is being used by nearly a quarter (23%) of HR directors. Over a fifth (22%) are using flexible working hours as an incentive, while duvet days (holiday days in addition to normal leave), creche/childcare arrangements, sign-on incentives and private dental insurance are each being offered by 19% of HR directors.

So widespread is the perks race that only 6% of HR directors say they have not, and are not planning to, introduce any non-financial perks to entice new staff.

Pay inflation isn’t limited to full-time workers either, as almost half (47%) of HR directors who employ temporary staff have increased wages for their temp workforce too.

Among firms that have increased temporary workers’ pay, wage levels have risen by 5.15% on average.

While 43% of HR directors have increased pay by between 5-6%, a fifth (20%) have hiked wages by 7-8%.

Novo Constare, COO and Co-founder of Indeed Flex, said:

“HR directors are now waging the war for talent on multiple fronts. The staffing crisis which first dogged the hospitality and logistics sectors is spreading to the wider economy, forcing ever more employers to fight ever harder to attract recruits.

“While offering higher pay is a tried and tested way of attracting candidates, it’s striking how many employers are now thinking beyond the paypacket. Non-financial perks and incentives can be just as effective as pay rises at drawing in applicants.

“Given the focus on work-life balance that the pandemic brought about, flexible working arrangements are proving particularly popular, among both employers and workers.

“We’re seeing a surge in the number of companies opting to build the bulk of their growth on a flexible, temporary staffing strategy. Meanwhile for many workers, choosing temporary work over a permanent job gives them the flexibility and freedom they crave.”