Employee benefits

25th March 2013

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A run down of environment professionals' non-salary benefits as revealed by the IEMA practitioners' survey 2013

Respondents to the 2013 practitioners’ survey were asked to specify the non-salary benefits they receive from their employers. The results are shown in figure 13.

An employee’s benefits package is often not fully appreciated by the individual but can represent significant value in addition to basic salary and bonus payments.

Against a climate of continuing budgetary constraints and modest pay increases, many employers are reviewing their benefits packages and trying to promote their worth to staff. The range on offer, as well as their monetary value, can have a direct effect on how satisfied people feel with their work.

Being provided with a mobile phone or “personal digital assistant” (PDA) and having the opportunity to join a contributory pension scheme are the two most common benefits available to IEMA members, as was the case in the 2011 and 2012 surveys.

Occupational pension provision has been in a state of flux in the UK for several years, prompted partly by greater life expectancy – between 1960 and 2010 the average life span increased by around 10 years for a man and eight years for a woman – and the increasing costs of many schemes after a poor stock market performance.

One significant change has been the steady fall in the proportion of employers offering final-salary pension arrangements. With the amount of pension payments based on a proportion of the individual’s salary at the time of his or her retirement, these schemes typically provide the most generous pension provision.

The survey findings show that the percentage of IEMA members having access to a final salary pension scheme continues to steadily decline.

In 2011, it reported that 28% of respondents were part of such a scheme compared with 24.6% in 2012 and 19.9% in 2013 (although it should be noted that these surveys do not contain matched samples and so are only indicative of any trends).

It means that the proportion of IEMA members with access to this valuable benefit is significantly below that of the UK workforce, according to a 2012 survey of benefits and allowances by specialist pay researcher XpertHR.

Its survey highlighted the demise of final-salary pension schemes but did, nonetheless, reveal that 41% of employers still offered these schemes to at least some employees.

The public sector accounts for most of these schemes, however, with 97% of public sector employers providing final-salary pension arrangements compared with 37.7% in private services.

Although the availability of final-salary pension schemes is declining steadily, employers may still offer employees membership of other formal occupational pension schemes.

Most of these are contributory schemes where the employer, as well as the employee, makes regular payments. Half (49.9%) of the IEMA members taking part in this 2013 practitioners’ survey have access to a contributory pension scheme, such as a “defined-contribution” arrangement, which could be a group personal pension plan, a stakeholder scheme or a “money-purchase” scheme.

Read the full 2013 practitioner survey results:

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