Do Employee Benefits have a Gender Gap?
And why employers should have an inclusive range of staff ad-ons.
In light of the recent Gender Pay Gap reporting, we at Personal Group thought we should revisit the issue of the Gender Happiness Gap. The gender pay gap by definition is the difference between the average earnings of men and women, expressed relative to men’s earnings. The gender happiness gap is the difference between the happiness expressed by men and women about their work life, benefits and environment.
Employee benefits are non-wage compensations provided from employers to employees in addition to their normal wages or salaries. Our research into the gender happiness gap revealed that, while on average men are better paid in the workplace, they are far unhappier than their female counterparts. As 39% of UK employees said they would be happier at work if their employer offered both long and short term benefits, we believe that they are part of the solution to solving this happiness divide.
A study conducted by Businessolver presented a clear division in how men and women use workplace benefits. Reportedly 90% of men feel their employer contributes to their retirement plans substantially, compared with only 77% of women feeling the same way. Employers should consider offering different retirement plans for your staff, which allow for employees to choose their preferred option.
Additionally, 87% of men also feel their employer offers sufficient paid maternity leave, compared with 75% of women. Men are also 9% more likely to use child care benefits and personal time off compared to women, with once again only 9% of women admitting to taking advantage of personal time off. Again, the key here is choice, allowing staff to make their own judgement as to what works for them and their families.
However, Catalyst found that 83% of women who had access to flexible arrangements said they aspired to a senior executive or an equivalent CEO-level position, but it seems women without this access aspire to progress much less, with just 54% of women without these benefits saying the same. In this instance, employee benefits like flexible working could support more women progressing to more senior positions which would help combat the gender pay gap, alongside the gender happiness gap. Offering employees flexible work hours isn’t just beneficial for women, we explain in our Closing the Gender Pay Gap report, that flexible working can also increase men’s happiness levels in the workplace.
It was also found that found that 21% of women would leave their current company for improved benefits, reiterating that women especially are looking for worthwhile employee perks.
In our Physical Wellbeing research, we found that 5% of men cycle to work, compared to only 2% of women. If you find that your male employees are unhappier in the workplace, consider offering a cycle to work scheme, and allow them to upgrade their current equipment.
Because of this vast range in what employees want from their benefits, it is important that employers consider how to provide for everyone. Running surveys throughout the business can be one of the most effective ways of finding out what your employees are really looking for but implementing these changes can take time.
In the short term, it can be worthwhile to provide a total rewards statement to your staff and remind them of what benefits they currently have access to. If you would like to learn more about total rewards statements and other employee services, click here.
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