Top 5 employee benefits in the legal sector
Companies will go out of their way to attract the top talent in the legal sector. Once upon a time that meant little more than a bidding war between rival firms looking to recruit the cream of the crop, but now – with a vast array of employee benefits available – the offer of a generous salary is no guarantee that a company will succeed in hiring the candidate of its choice.
A major study from HR in Law and Portus Consulting demonstrates how firms in the Legal 100 have recognised this trend and are now offering flexible benefits. Some 54 per cent of companies surveyed provide online flexible benefits to staff, with respondents stating this helps them to offer packages like discount schemes, dental insurance, or the ability to buy and sell holiday.
But what are the benefits most likely appeal to members of the legal profession? This guide takes a look at five of the most popular options.
From personal dental and medical insurance to plans covering an entire family, healthcare-related benefits are commonplace in the legal sector. According to PwC, medical insurance was cited by a third of women and a quarter of men asked to choose their top two workplace benefits.
One of the few downsides of such perks is their prevalence; research from BUPA revealed more than half of all businesses that provide private healthcare believe their staff consider it to be a standard working benefit.
Once the sole preserve of top executives and salespeople, company cars have become increasingly common as a workplace benefit.
PwC’s research indicates a significant gender divide when it comes to assessing the appeal of the company car; just under one in three men said it was the perk they would most likely to see introduced, compared with one in five women.
They were also found to be more popular among younger employees. Some 32 per cent of Generation Y respondents voiced their preference for a company car scheme, with this proportion dropping to 27 per cent among those aged 40 or over.
Given that housing is the single biggest expenditure for the vast majority of people, help with mortgages or other related costs is a much sought-after benefit.
PwC says more than a third (37 per cent) of all employees would like to see access to better mortgage rates introduced as a benefit. Broken down by age range, this perk was favoured by 36 per cent of people in their 20s, 43 per cent in their 30s and 38 per cent in their 40s.
Flexibility on holiday
Clearly, a major factor for legal professionals choosing whether to change jobs is the chance to make the most of their free time – and that includes the ability to buy or sell annual leave. When asked by PwC, 35 per cent of all employees rated extra holiday as one of their top three workplace benefits.
High-profile companies that have chosen to give staff complete flexibility with regard to booking holiday include Virgin Group, which last year announced that its 170 employees could “take off whenever they want for as long as they want”. Boss Sir Richard Branson explained the assumption is that “they are only going to do it when they feel 100 per cent comfortable that they and their team are up to date on every project and that their absence will not in any way damage the business – or, for that matter, their careers”.
Of course, while all of the above are attractive options, some will always prefer a cash sum. However, research suggests a cash bonus is most popular among junior employees; PwC asked respondents whether they would be prepared to swap £1,000 of their salary for the chance to earn a £5,000 performance-related bonus, with 36 per cent of under-20s agreeing that they would. In contrast, just 18 per cent of 40 to 59-year-olds said they would be prepared to do the same.