Research from app start-up, Seatfrog, has found that today’s young workers are looking for more than just fun or unusual perks to brag about to their friends when starting a new job. While on-site table tennis, a free bar and unlimited snacks has become de rigueur in the war to attract top talent – especially in the technology sector – three in five millennials are dismissing perks as nothing short of a gimmick. Two thirds of job-seekers say while perks are a nice addition, they hold no real sway in terms of making job decisions and only 10 per cent have turned down a role due to “inadequate” benefits.
Instead, young workers are seeking a better work culture and to join companies invested in their personal development. Salary aside, the top reasons cited for taking on a new job are a good work/life balance (62 per cent), the nature of the work itself (45 per cent), opportunities for growth and personal development (41 per cent) plus a strong culture (21 per cent).
The study, exploring what tomorrow’s workers want from their jobs, underlines the importance of companies helping their employees find work-life balance. Flexible working, a 4-day working week, shorter summer hours, unlimited holiday allowance, on-site childcare and funded travel all topped the list of what employees are looking for from their next role.
|Top traditional perks||Top “emerging” perks|
|Flexible working hours (63 per cent)||4-day working week (50 per cent)|
|Additional holiday (32 per cent)||Unlimited holiday (40 per cent)|
|Private healthcare (31 per cent)||Annual travel fund (20 per cent)|
|Enhanced pension benefits (28 per cent)||Student loan assistance (19 per cent)|
|Summer working hours (18 per cent)||Childcare assistance (19 per cent)|
The study also shows that workers are twice as likely to value recognition for a job well done than a perk. This rises amongst women with 70 per cent claiming that recognition for their achievements is far more valuable and important for job satisfaction than either a free bar, an office dog or unlimited ping pong.
“Perks may once have had a role to play in improving employees’ work/life balance and the tech industry is certainly renown for offering extreme ones,” says Iain Griffin, co-founder and CEO of Seatfrog. “Yet we need to look beyond simple, temporary incentives and provide people with a true sense of purpose – changing day-to-day elements of the workplace so we not only attract top talent but retain them as well.
“At Seatfrog, we are embedding changes culturally that will improve work-life balance but without leaning on perks to provide this. One of these is pace. Our view is that speed is critical in any company – start-up or otherwise – and one way to shorten working hours and improve work/life balance is to focus on avoiding endless debate, meetings that achieve no outcome and encouraging our team to make bold choices. We operate with a zero approvals process for 95 per cent of our decisions – almost no decision is irreversible so we make the decision and move on.”
The research indicates that satisfaction levels amongst millennials with work/life balance hovers between 15 per cent to 25 per cent depending on the sector. The industry with the highest satisfaction for work/life balance is Travel and Transport (24 per cent very satisfied) compared to Media and Journalism which came bottom (7 per cent not satisfied at all). Only 19 per cent of employees within the technology sector said they were completely satisfied with their work/life balance.
Iain Griffin continues: “At Seatfrog, we set company-wide targets every 90 days which are laser focussed with tangible metrics and give our employees complete autonomy over the decisions to achieve their objectives. Having responsibility and ownership over tasks has been proven to be a major contributing factor to overall job satisfaction.”