A significant portion of UK workers, accounting for 40%, are inclined to prefer employment that, despite offering a lower wage, provides substantial employee benefits such as income protection, death in service, and options for hybrid working, as uncovered by recent studies from MetLife UK, a notable provider of protection and employee benefits. Financial incentives remain a critical consideration for potential job changes, with 37% valuing financial bonuses and 35% desiring substantial pension contributions. A key concern for one-third (33%) of employees is financial security through income protection, which ensures partial or full salary compensation during absence due to accidents or illnesses. Additionally, 26% of workers find private healthcare and dental care to be essential benefits.

Other valued benefits include hybrid and flexible work arrangements, important to nearly half (47%) of the respondents, while 42% consider annual leave allowances crucial. Mental health support and wellness programs are sought after by 34% of the workforce.

This data emerges as MetLife UK introduces a limited-term option to its Group Income Protection plan, aimed at assisting companies in maintaining a satisfied and healthy workforce. This option not only facilitates monthly payments during extended absences but also integrates additional support services like a 24/7 virtual GP service, early intervention, rehabilitation, and an employee assistance program, presenting a cost-effective solution for covering employee absences and reducing the impacts of long-term illnesses.

In the UK, the average employee absence rate currently stands at 7.8 days per year, the highest in a decade, costing businesses approximately £1.75 million for a thousand-employee organization. This emphasizes the necessity for protective measures for the workforce.

Adrian Matthews, the Head of Employee Benefits at MetLife UK, emphasizes the growing importance of benefits to employees. While competitive salaries are crucial, companies must recognize the broader aspects job seekers consider, including support and protection, to attract and retain top talent. The limited term option for Group Income Protection is designed to offer comprehensive benefits at a manageable cost, acknowledging the evolving employment landscape where job mobility is more common. MetLife’s research indicates that employees typically have held an average of four jobs, with nearly a quarter (23%) planning to leave their current position within the next year, underscoring the potential for better benefits to attract superior talent.

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