Eighty-nine per cent of UK workers claim benefit provision is important in their decision to work for a company, research has revealed.

The study of 2,000 UK workers by Willis Towers Watson also showed that contributory pension schemes are the most valued benefit, chosen as a top five benefit by 62% of workers.

This was followed by health insurance (43%), life insurance (40%), critical illness cover (35%) and health cash plans (32%).

Pension contributions are the most valued benefit across the generations.

“The first few weeks of the New Year sees a significant upturn in the number of job listings, to coincide with the spike in new job-hunters who, after taking the holidays to re-evaluate their employment and levels of job satisfaction, have decided on a fresh start,” said Mark Ramsook, of Willis Towers Watson Health and Benefits.

“As this research shows, benefits are a key component to attracting and retaining talent.  Companies looking for high quality candidates, or wishing to hold on to their existing employee base, should consider this as part of their talent management strategies.”

Despite the importance placed on benefits by workers, 67% of workers surveyed said their employer has never consulted them on their rewards and benefits preferences.

Furthermore, less than half of workers (48%) said they were satisfied with their benefits package.  Low earners were less satisfied with their benefits package (43%) than their higher earning colleagues (60%).

“A gulf exists between what workers want and what employees think they need,” added Ramsook.

“A disparity between low and high earners may be expected, as provision increases with salary, but companies should ask if they are adequately catering for their lower paid workers, as they form the backbone of any operation.

“Companies should look to consult with workers, so they can create a benefits package that truly reflects their needs and goals.

“This not only breeds a sense of loyalty among employees, leading to better recruitment and retention, but can also significantly benefit the employer – after all, benefits will only be perceived as valuable if they are used.”