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Press Release

Employee benefits in Ireland challenged by the war on talent and rising costs to businesses

August 31, 2023

Investment in benefits a top priority but differences exist over what employers will offer and what employees want
Health and Benefits|Employee Experience|Ukupne nagrade

IRELAND, August 31, 2023 — Just over three quarters (76%) of businesses in Ireland identify the competition for talent as the key issue influencing how they reward their employees in terms of benefits. This is followed by concerns around rising costs (61%), according to research by WTW, a leading global advisory, broking, and solutions company.

Notably, the lowest three concerns identified by Irish employers are national economic weakness (8%), political and regulatory changes (8%) and volatility in the financial markets (3%), indicating general confidence among employers in Ireland with regard to the country’s domestic performance and broader international market conditions.

Indeed, employers in Ireland responding to WTW’s latest Benefits Trends Survey said they are working harder now to prioritise issues such as attraction and retention of talent (84%), work engagement (81%), employee well-being (78%) and productivity (65%).

…inflation is putting a lot of pressure on benefits budgets, and many are looking for savings.”

Michael Acton | Head of Health & Benefits Consulting at WTW Ireland

Michael Acton, Head of Health & Benefits Consulting at WTW Ireland said: “Irish businesses are feeling a high level of conflict around their employee benefits strategy. They are finding it difficult to recruit and retain the best talent, so they have to keep their benefits attractive. But at the same time inflation is putting a lot of pressure on benefits budgets, and many are looking for savings.

“While employers and employees alike in Ireland are aware of the ongoing challenges and requirements concerning recruitment and retention, interestingly our research is showing a potential misalignment or divergence between the groups.”

Asked what their top benefits focus is, employers in Ireland said mental health (53%), health benefits (47%), risk and insurance benefits, and also career development and training (both on 34%). However, employees identified retirement planning and long-term finances (42%), flexible working arrangements (40%) and health benefits (34%) as their benefits priorities.

Current benefits strategy

The research also found that almost half of all employers in Ireland (42%) believe that the current effectiveness of their benefits strategy is ‘low’, compared to 22% who believe it ranks as ‘high’. This self-assessed rating is telling as it covers a broad sweep of business areas – the benefits portfolio, financing, employee experience, admin and operations, and analytics and reporting.

Michael Acton added: “While there is a high degree of self-awareness among employers regarding their benefits strategy, the fundamental misalignment between them and their employees may become more apparent in the coming years.

“Looking to the future, issues regarding the economy and broader business environment will continue to be a concern for employers in Ireland, as will the need to provide employees with tangible benefits that support their financial well-being as well prospects. These considerations need to be factored in now to enable effective business planning”.

About the survey

WTW surveyed 38 organisations in Ireland, representing close to 70,000 employees across a broad range of industries about their benefit strategies between 1 March 2023 and 14 April 2023 for its 2023 Benefit Trends Survey.

About WTW

At WTW (NASDAQ: WTW), we provide data-driven, insight-led solutions in the areas of people, risk and capital. Leveraging the global view and local expertise of our colleagues serving 140 countries and markets, we help organizations sharpen their strategy, enhance organizational resilience, motivate their workforce and maximize performance.

Working shoulder to shoulder with our clients, we uncover opportunities for sustainable success—and provide perspective that moves you.

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