The employee benefits market is set to expand, new research from MetLife Employee Benefits shows, despite concerns about the introduction of new data regulations and the impact of Brexit.
MetLife’s new nationwide UK survey of employee benefits consultants found that more than two out of five consultants (42 per cent) expect their businesses to grow over the next year, and another 41 per cent believe they will at least stand still. Just 13 per cent feared their businesses will suffer a slowdown.
Employee benefit consultants are also positively planning for these growths, the research revealed, with over half looking to invest in technology, while 36 per cent are planning to recruit more staff to help address the growing list of regulatory and economic issues and challenges facing the industry.
Though the GDPR issues and Brexit are major challenges for the industry, according to the survey, 84 per cent are more concerned with the continued growth of the ‘gig economy’ and how this threatens the provision of benefits in the workplace, as well as 81 per cent being concerned about an ageing workforce.
“Employee benefits consultants are admirably resilient in the face of a growing list of challenges as demonstrated by their commitment to grow and maintain their businesses,” said Adrian Matthews, employee benefits director at MetLife UK. “Their optimism is well-founded given the growing engagement by employees with workplace benefits driven by the realisation that employee benefits are playing an increasingly important role in financial planning Our own research shows growing satisfaction with benefits, with 55 per cent of staff saying they value their benefits, compared with just 40 per cent in 2015.”
There is still an issue with employee engagement for most employee benefits consultants, with 83 per cent saying the value of benefits must be better explained to staff. Consultants concede, however, that they need to do a better job, with 58 per cent admitting that they should do more to outline the link between increased productivity and employee benefits to employers, while 73 per cent say the rising cost of benefits must be better explained to employers.