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Job seekers place pensions high on their wish lists

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As employers wrestle with high staff turnover and a tight labour market, research has found that a big salary is not the top draw for prospective applicants.

A new survey has found that work-life balance has become the biggest factor for many applicants (82%) , followed by overall salary (80%), the commute (70%), and pension (65%).

From an employer’s perspective, including details of the workplace pension in adverts can be key to attracting and retaining talent, even if they only provide the statutory minimum contribution. This would help to reduce the costly revolving door of workers, according to Royal London. 

(The jobs website Indeed says less than half of job adverts in February 2022 listed pensions as a benefit.)

The mutual’s survey of 3,042 adults in the UK also found a generational shift: more than one-in-five under-25s had already worked for five or more employers while only 8% of 18-24-year-olds said they expected to still be in their first workplace after five years.

Flexibility matters

Flexible working arrangements are increasingly important to younger workers. The survey found that 71% of 18–34-year-olds saw flexible working patterns as important or vital when applying for a new job, compared to 62% of 35-54-year-olds and 49% of the over-55s.

Clare Moffat, pensions expert at Royal London, said: “Faced with a competitive job market, businesses are having to compete hard to attract the best talent and employers need to make themselves as attractive as possible.

“While workers are most likely to prioritise work-life balance, it’s clear that pension benefits are an important factor that feature surprisingly high up on the recruitment radar. To help tackle skill shortages, organisations need to tune in to the components workers value most when changing jobs.”

Competitive market

Unfortunately, companies often don’t include pension details in their help-wanted postings.

“Shining more light on the benefit of a pension could help differentiate them in a competitive job market and secure the best candidates,” Moffat said. “Many employers already work hard at improving an understanding of pensions among their workers, but our research shows that people want to know the level of commitment even before they start their first day.”