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Employee rewards, benefits and savings research


Mercer is pleased to report the findings of its recent research on reward, benefits and savings.


This survey was conducted by Mercer to find out employer and employee perceptions of reward and benefits and what elements can drive attraction, retention and motivation.


In addition to comparing and contrasting the views of employers and employees, the research specifically aimed to explore:


  • The respective roles of employers and employees in reward and benefits provision

  • The importance of choice

  • The impact of rewards and benefits on attraction, retention and motivation

  • How success is measured


The research focused on key areas of reward and benefits for both employers and employees, ranging from an organisation’s reward objectives (financial and non-financial) and the programme’s flexibility to perceptions about the market competitiveness of the programme and the use of technology.

Survey highlights

Overall, the survey results revealed some significant disconnects between employee attitudes towards their workplace reward and communications and employers’ perceptions of those attitudes.


  • The top four people management issues for employers are employee engagement, leadership quality, performance management and talent management, and they are expected to remain the top four issues in two years’ time.

  • Employees’ levels of engagement are much lower than they were pre-recession, with levels of commitment to the organisation dropping by 17 percentage points since 2006.

  • Employers underrate the importance of base pay, job security and work-life balance while overrating the importance of bonuses and career development.

  • Employees feel that their reward levels are lower than average in the market while employers perceive their reward packages, in particular total remuneration and total cash, as much more competitive.

  • Employees still lack understanding about their reward packages and are unsatisfied with the communications they receive about them, even though employers view improving reward communications as a relatively low priority in the next two years.

  • Although almost half of employers plan to provide more flexibility in their rewards packages in two years’ time, employees would prefer to keep them as they are, as long as their total compensation stays the same.

  • Although 90% of employers believe that it is important to measure the success of their reward investments, almost one in four does not have any measurement in place.

  • The main differentiator across all elements of reward by which employers strategically segment their reward packages is job level – particularly in relation to base pay and benefits.Employers and employees believe that their organisation could do a better job in providing assistance with financial planning for retirement, and while three out of four employers believe that their pension is the best way to save for retirement, only one in six employees agrees.

  • The majority of employees would be interested in receiving benefit information online; however, their expectations may be higher than what their employers are currently prepared to offer.

About the survey

Two surveys were conducted: one with employers and the other with employees. The employer survey gathered views from 79 organisations, representing a broad cross-section of industry sectors and company sizes.


The employee survey was administered to a representative sample of UK employees, stratified to reflect the demographics of the UK workforce in terms of age, gender and job level. Data for both surveys were collected from February to June 2010.


The study is unique in that it compared the views of employers with those of employees, identifying areas where the organisation’s reward strategy is aligned or misaligned with the expectations of its employees.


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  • Executive summary of Mercer's employee rewards, benefits and savings research

  • Mercer's Point of View, "Rewards, Engagement and Growth in the Post-Recession Era"


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Register to download these documents. NB You can also request a full copy of Mercer's employee rewards, benefits and savings research via this form.