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By Marc Shoffman | Published Aug 01, 2012

Workers want options on benefits – survey

A poll of employers and employees by Mercer showed that while employees still rank pensions as the long-term savings vehicle they most value, 21 per cent would like to have the option of saving into cash accounts and 9 per cent would prefer corporate cash Isas.

However only 2 per cent of employers said they offered cash savings plans or corporate cash Isas.

Nearly half of the companies surveyed take a paternalistic approach to benefits provision, such as setting levels of contributions, despite 47 per cent of employees wanting a ‘facilitative’ approach, where they were given a choice of benefits.

Gail Philippart, defined contribution specialist for Mercer, said: “Our surveys show a clear gap between what employees want and what employers are currently providing.

“Employees’ needs are evolving and will change as they progress through their working life. To become the employer of choice, companies need to listen to what their staff need and meet those needs with benefits that are appropriate and will be valued by staff.”

Ms Philippart added employees wanted something that would help them with their short and medium-term savings needs, as well as a pension.

Tim Purdon, managing director of Ayrshire-based Paladin Financial Services, said: “I am not seeing a great deal of interest in workplace savings from clients at the moment. Any interest will have to be encouraged by the adviser selling the idea to employers.

“People should be encouraged to save. If they can be encouraged to do that by having money taken out of their salary, then even better.”

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