17 January 2019 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Research by global professional services company Aon shows that 97 per cent of employers agree that employees' expectations of their experience in the workplace are changing.
Aon's Benefits and Trends Survey 2019 highlights that employers are saying that employees' top priorities now include flexible working hours, agile working, mental health, diversity and inclusion and parental leave.
The survey, now in its ninth year, is formed from the responses of more than 200 employers of all sizes, from fewer than 100 employees to many thousands working across a broad range of sectors, 75 per cent of them working internationally.
This year, a number of new questions were introduced, including changing workforce demographics, to support employer benefit strategies and provide industry analysis.
The survey demonstrates that 97 per cent of companies agree that employee expectations of the workplace seem to be altering rapidly.
The main feature of those changing expectations centres on flexible working, with 98 per cent of respondents saying employees now expect more flexible working hours, while 89 per cent said they expect agile/home working to be available. The rest of the top five changes were better awareness of mental health issues (79 per cent), better approaches to diversity and inclusion (65 per cent) and improved maternity/paternity/parental leave policies (63 per cent).
Access to financial education also featured for 54 per cent of respondents.
Interestingly, 60 per cent of employers say that their businesses are either already changing or are expected to change within the next five years, meaning that they are now competing for talent within different market sectors.
This can mean that the demographics of the organisation change - yet half of the respondents believe that their current benefits do not meet the needs of all generations, while 89 per cent believe they will need to change their benefits offering to meet the needs of future generations.
Richard Morgan, strategic consultant at Aon, said: "The results from this year's survey clearly show that the majority of respondents have either already undergone fundamental change or expect to in the near future - just 29.5 per cent said that they don't expect any change within the next five years. There seems to be a particularly rapid pace of change at the moment, much of it driven by technology."