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Paid time off

The benefit that tops the list is greater paid time off, which 59% of respondents wanted but fewer than 45% are receiving. This could include sick pay, annual leave and more. Some companies offer mental health days and days off for moving to a new home.

Since the first lockdown, when most people started working from home, they developed fatigue from practices like working alone all day or having too many video calls. Receiving more annual leave will decrease the need for mental health days and wellness programmes and save businesses money in the long run.

Family and workplace flexibility

58% of respondents said they would like to have flexible working options. Work-life balance is incredibly important to professionals in all sectors, for the sake of their mental wellbeing.

Working parents with young children may want the option to leave offices earlier to pick children up from school, for example, but they might not necessarily want to work from home full time just to make this more convenient. When we are all able to work in offices again, this will be an important consideration for businesses and a deciding factor for professionals.

Health insurance

Considering the increased pressure on the NHS over the past year, it is no surprise that another top benefit that candidates in business support are looking for is health insurance. Private healthcare can be more convenient for working professionals to skip NHS queues and gain access to more procedures that might be expensive. Some types of insurance pay for any time people have spent in hospital.

Only around 15% of professionals want life insurance and even fewer (less than 10%) want wellness programmes – despite their popularity in many other fields – however, more than double that percentage of respondents receive these benefits. Dental and vision insurance were also incredibly low in both receipt and desire.

Performance bonuses

Professionals still in employment have worked harder than usual, facing unprecedented challenges, and would like to be recognised for it. Just under half want this benefit, with a similar number of professionals receiving it. Employers who offer some form of bonus scheme will find it easier to attract and retain staff.

A company pension higher than the required amount

Many are now thinking of their futures earlier, and with some starting their careers later in life, retirement is on many professionals’ minds. The aging population means that workers will live longer after retirement, so they want to save and earn more to live on while they are still able to work. As the state pension age increases, many will look to their company pensions to allow them to retire earlier.

Annual increment

Every year, employees become more valuable and learn new skills while they work - their salary should always reflect this. An annual pay increase keeps them from looking for work elsewhere worth more money, and it shows appreciation for their loyalty and for the time and effort they give to a business.

Remote work

Key differences between ‘desired’ and ‘reality’ included remote working, which is available to 61% of business support professionals. While still a desired benefit, with 40% listing it in their top five, the 21% difference could demonstrate that many professionals are beginning to experience remote working fatigue.

Employers searching for professionals in support roles should use the list of desired benefits, which you can read in full in the salary guide, to help inform their offering, as it will help to attract the best candidates.

Find out more by downloading our 2024 Business Support and Administration Salary Guide now.