Almost three-quarters (73%) of SMEs are experiencing higher demand in terms of what employees want from their pay and benefits package, new research by WorkLife by OpenMoney has found.

The employee benefits platform’s latest Small Business Monitor reveals the most common areas for workers to be expressing a need for greater support include increased flexible working options (32%), training and development (27%) and help for mental wellbeing, such as how to manage stress (23%).

Other popular options were payroll loans (16%), where regular payments can be taken from an employee’s salary, cycle to work schemes (14%) and green benefits (13%), such as electric vehicle purchase schemes.

Further down the list were discounts on fitness services and gym memberships (9%), followed by special rates on insurance (8%) and personal technology (8%).

With the study uncovering that almost a third (30%) of firms had been approached by their employees with concerns as to whether their current salary will cover their inflation-increased outgoings, the findings may reflect the wider climate of people needing to focus their spending on more fundamental day-to-day costs, rather than additional non-essential purchases.

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