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Almost two-thirds of workers would leave their current employer for the green pastures of a new position with better benefits, even if the salary was the same – it was revealed in a recent survey.

The research, conducted by recruitment firm, Sellick Partnership, revealed that 65% of those surveyed would be either ‘very likely’ or ‘likely’ to move jobs if the benefits were better, even with commensurate salary.

This is despite only 43.6% of the 1,039 participants stating that they were ‘actively looking’ or ‘considering looking’ to move jobs in the next six months. This discrepancy of 21.4% indicates that even employees that are content in their current roles would be open to new opportunities if the offer was tempting enough.

Jo Sellick, Managing Director of Sellick Partnership, said, “The data demonstrates exactly how persuasive a good benefits package is for recruitment, and also presents a valuable opportunity for smaller companies and start-ups.

“There is always a worry that those who can flash the cash will lure the very best employees to them, resulting in an unlevel playing field across many sectors. However, savvy businesses will do well if they evaluate what job hunters really want and adjust their benefits package to meet or, ideally, exceed those expectations.

“What’s especially exciting for start-ups and small companies is that they can be very reactive to the market, pivoting and adapting rapidly in order to accommodate job seekers needs without having to go through the sluggish administrative mechanisms that large organisations often face.”

While the survey was taken by British workers, it’s a shot across the bow (to extend the nautical metaphor) for HR professionals in Hong Kong – a timely reminder of the importance of a good employee benefits package.

When participants were asked to pick the top five most important benefits that they either currently have or would like to have, ‘flexible hours’ topped the list of 24 options with 62.2%. This was followed by ‘generous annual leave’ with 59.6%.

“The survey findings demonstrate clearly that employees are extremely attracted to jobs that offer the best opportunity for work-life balance. With flexible hours and annual leave voted the top two most desired benefits, and remote working coming in fifth, today’s workforce would be highly motivated to join any company that can demonstrate they are understanding and empathetic to the demands and volatility of modern living.

“While ‘fun’ fringe benefits such as gym membership, cycle-to-work schemes or dog-friendly offices have their place, they should be used as the icing on the cake, rather than pushed to the forefront of any recruitment drive,” Sellick added.