Research from employee benefits technology platform, Zest has found Christmas bonuses provide a lifeline for six in ten (58 per cent) 18-34 year-olds as younger employees continue to struggle with rising living costs.

The research found younger employees are much more reliant on bonuses than older colleagues as just 20 per cent of employees aged over 55 admitted these annual rewards provided a financial lifeline.

However, of those who receive a Christmas bonus, six in ten (61 per cent) younger employees would prefer year-round financial support such as workplace savings schemes or discount vouchers over a one-off Christmas bonus – compared to just a fifth (21 per cent) of older employees.

Matt Russell, CEO at Zest, comments: “During Christmas bonus season, many employers will be looking to reward younger employees who may have struggled with rising costs over the last 12 months. Whilst one-off bonus payments are hugely welcome, employers should consider whether these short-term rewards are what employees want or need.

“Many younger employees value year-round financial support much higher than a bumper one-off payment just before Christmas,” says Russell. “Employers need to ensure that they’re communicating with their employees to understand the most effective approach to reward and support all employees this Christmas and tailor this to the needs of specific groups across the workforce.

“In lieu of salary increases, enhanced employee benefits packages are the most effective approach to attract and retain talent in an extremely challenging financial climate.”

More than six in ten (62 per cent) of all employees would prefer a pay rise over a bonus – however, given previous research from Zest shows that ongoing financial challenges are leading to a third (29 per cent) of businesses admitting they’re unable to raise salaries, there is increased importance on benefits packages. Half (46 per cent) of all employees say the benefits on offer are the most important factor when considering a new role, rising to 57 per cent amongst younger employees.

In fact, over half (51 per cent) of employees would leave their job if another company offered a better benefits package – again, this rises to six in ten (62 per cent) young people.

Not only can benefit packages support employers to attract and retain talent, but they also boost motivation and productivity amongst employees – over half (53 per cent) of all employees say they are more motivated by their benefits package than a bonus.

Zest is an employee benefits platform that offers flexible benefits services for a wide range of well-known businesses across the world, including Hargreaves Lansdown, Taylor Wimpey, ADP and Travis Perkins.

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