The Artificial Grass is Greener… Or is it?
Hands up if your workplace offers lunch hour yoga. How about free lunches and Friday beers? Or maybe even an all expense payed training course?
Now, hands up if you’ve ever actually used any of these perks — or if they’re an important factor in how content you are in your job.
Well, it turns out that despite the huge rise in these perks being available, they aren’t that important after all.
Over the past 12 months, we have been surveying our creative candidates for our 2018/19 Salary Survey & Career Insights document to find out what really makes them tick. What do they like about their current job, what would they change, what are they looking for in their next role, and so on.
When we asked our candidates which workplace perks they were interested in, we were surprised to see that the most common answer was actually none at all.
Businesses are aflood with benefits, schemes and perks as there is a general verdict that having these options for staff members is now a necessity. Candidates have been drawn in by the free gym memberships, good pension schemes and regular social events, so if your business couldn’t offer these benefits then the best candidates would flee to somewhere that would.
So why is it that our surveyed candidates said that they were not interested in these perks? Are they considered a novelty now? Is it a classic case of the grass was greener?
Before we get any further — lets address the elephant in the room, Millennials. Now, Millennials always get a bad rep for being overly concerned with ‘unnecessary’ perks, and swanky offices. So, if your first thought was that we’d surveyed the older audience to get those results, you’d be wrong. Actually, 76% of respondents were under 34 years old, aka — Millennials. Go figure!
So with that in mind, it again begs the question — are perks really important?
In my opinion, there are two very important factors that might explain our findings. The first is that these candidates all work within the creative industry. The second is the previously mentioned point that nearly every office now offers some kind of perk or benefit.
The fact that all of these candidates are creative is particularly interesting when you consider data from other sources regarding this topic. For example, recently Manchester Evening News published a story that concluded that perks were actually very important to people — a finding that couldn’t be more opposite to ours! However, MEN did not specify which professions were surveyed for this data from CV Library, although you would imagine that it covered a range of industries.
Whilst we can’t confirm the reasoning for our respondents answers, you could assume that being in a creative role means they are more inclined to be focussed on what the role itself can offer them — having a niche and a passion as designers tend to might be the reason they see perks as irrelevant. The company and the work they can offer is fundamentally the key drawing point, compared to other professions that may be more fluid between business to business where the job role can be somewhat similar, making perks more notable.
Equally, it’s worth acknowledging that Millennials are the ones who are ahead of the trend and businesses are often the ones playing catch up. It’s a real possibility that as all companies finally offer these fun and ‘different’ perks, that trend has passed. Not that they don’t matter anymore, they do, but they have become the expected.
‘Of course you offer free lunch, of course my gym membership is free, but what can you offer me that I can’t get anywhere else?’ It has gone full circle — perks are the norm, so the importance focusses back on the work on offer. Where previously companies could disguise a lack of attractive work with an enjoyable office space and so on, now candidates want both.*
*FYI — they also want flexible working hours and the option to work remote occasionally, if you really want to get ahead of the trend to draw new people in and keep your best talent (again, check the data in our Salary Survey).
Both of these theories are something to consider when addressing how you can attract new candidates, keep your existing talent, and consider the longevity of your companies staffing plans.
To read about this data in more depth, along with the rest of our candidate data and up to date expected salaries for over 160 job titles — you can find our Salary Survey & Career Insights document here.