Most small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) plan to offer more benefits available to their employees to aid the recruitment and retention of staff, according to MetLife UK.
In a survey of 508 senior managers at SMEs, the provider found 57 per cent plan to increase employee benefits in the next two years - with one in four planning a "significant" increase.
Benefits which specifically address health and wellbeing proved the most popular with managers, with 19 per cent favouring this kind of package, and 11 per cent hoping to see benefits suitable for employees working from home.
Adrian Matthews, employee benefits director at MetLife UK, said SMEs are "very much focused" on retaining and recruiting staff.
He said: "They increasingly recognise the role that a well-designed benefits package can play in addition to salary.
"Smaller employers are already competing for staff with large corporates on pay and business profile and may struggle to attract and retain skilled employees if they cannot offer the benefits that many now expect at work.
"Group life and group income protection are benefits that employees value and cost much less than employers often think – for example around 0.5 per cent of salary for income protection and 0.2 per cent of salary for life."
Of the senior managers surveyed by MetLife, more than half said sickness absence is a significant issue for their business with 20 per cent describing it is a "very significant" issue.
The survey was conducted online in March 2018.