UK professional services industry lags on workplace wellness perks

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The professional services industry has ranked in fifth place in the UK for employee wellness and benefits, according to a new study. The research suggests that the sector lags behind the retail, financial services, higher education and the tech sector when it comes to supplying flexibility and wellness services to its staff.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in 2020, millions of workers have left their jobs. The so-called Great Resignation represents a previously unprecedented event in the labour market, as following two years of home-working and public health measures amid the global pandemic, many members of the workforce have re-evaluated what they expect from employers.

At the same time, the UK’s labour market is currently unusually tight. According to government figures, the number of job vacancies across the country hovering around 1 million throughout 2023. In this environment, employers have had to reshape their offerings to prospective staff, to attract new talent – particularly around wellness and flexibility.

UK professional services industry lags on workplace wellness perks

To get an overview of which sectors are best meeting these needs, UNTIL, a flexible wellness workspace provider, has evaluated the 20 largest employers across Britain’s 20 most-populated cities. The report compared each firm against six relevant index points to find which companies are leading the way in supporting employee wellbeing. The data points included gym subscriptions or discounts; on-site gyms; wellness packages; cycle-to-work schemes; access to private medical treatment; and company Glassdoor review scores.

Once the data had been collected, a tally score was given to each company in each data set. Following this, an index score was given to each company based on the combined total tally of each data set, with those with a higher tally ranking higher in the index for workplace wellbeing scores.

Ultimately, the researchers discovered that the professional services sector – where many firms remain in the grips of a war for talent – is decidedly middling in its wellness offerings. Ranking fifth out of the industries weighed up with an index score of 264.27 – below the average of 359 – professional services firms came up short when it came to cycle-to-work schemes and the provision of on-site gyms in particular.

Meanwhile, it was thoroughly outperformed by the retail sector in particular – which had the highest index score of 521.08. Examining the best practices of the retail industry, UNTIL pointed to the Co-op – which was the only company analysed to fulfil all six index criteria for workplace wellbeing as the only firm to offer private treatment access.

At the same time, the financial services industry came in second place with the highest industry gym discount score and a high offering of on-site gyms and wellness benefits. However, with an overall health benefits score and industry review score lower than the retail sector, financial services falls behind.

Dan Chappell, Co-Founder at UNTIL, commented on the research, “Corporate well-being is still far behind where it needs to be. With Increasing employee demands for health and wellness services/policies, corporate wellbeing can no longer be a tick-box exercise. There is still a lot of room for improvement across all sectors. The workplace wellbeing index criteria should be a goal and future industry standard for companies across the UK, rather than a rarity for employees and job seekers. Companies and industries reluctant to invest in the foundations of a supportive workplace for employee wellbeing may risk losing out on top talent unless they meet the demands of their workforce by enhancing their wellbeing benefits packages.”

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