Two-thirds of working Brits would switch jobs for a four-day week

More than 20 million Brits would ditch their current job if they were offered a similar role elsewhere with a four-day working week, according to a new study on workplace benefits. The research, conducted by the experts at iCompario, surveyed 2,000 British workers on their current benefits, and quizzed them on the employee benefits that might tempt them to move on.

As well as a four-day working week (68%), being able to work flexible hours (64%) and the opportunity to earn overtime pay (63%) showed up as the benefits most likely to tempt Brits away from their current employer. Despite the four-day working week being seen as the holy grail, it was revealed that only one in ten working Brits (10%) currently receive this benefit.

The cost-of-living crisis appears to be affecting how many of us view work benefits, with one in eight of those surveyed (13%) saying that they would also prefer to get food or energy bill vouchers over traditional workplace benefits like a company pension scheme or private health insurance. Shockingly, one in nine UK workers (11%) don’t currently receive any work benefits at all.

All in all, there are ten workplace benefits desirable enough for the majority of the UK workforce to consider moving jobs for, if they were offered a similar these alongside a similar role:

Benefits most likely to tempt workers away from their employer

  1. A four-day working week (68%)
  2. Flexible hours (64%)
  3. Overtime pay (63%)
  4. Remote working (56%)
  5. A company pension scheme (56%)
  6. A private healthcare plan (54%)
  7. Performance based bonuses (54%)
  8. Early finish on a Friday (54%)
  9. Company shares (50%)
  10. Employee discounts (50%)

Over half of emergency service workers such as paramedics and firefighters (56%) admitted they are dissatisfied with the level of benefits they receive in their role, making them the workers most commonly unhappy with their perks at work. Creative workers are also among those who are most likely to be unhappy with their benefits, with those working in marketing and advertising (50%) and design/ creative roles (42%) demonstrating ‘work perk’ dissatisfaction in large numbers. A third of those who said that they are dissatisfied with their benefits (33%) said that they would rather receive the cash value of their benefits than the perks themselves.

Workers in Belfast are the most likely to be dissatisfied with their work benefits, with over a third (36%) reporting their unhappiness. Those working in Liverpool (31%) and Newcastle (31%) are similarly unimpressed by the benefits package they receive.

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024

Data from job board provider Adzuna reveals that across all current advertised job roles in the UK, a cycle to work scheme is the most frequently listed benefit – over 50,000 job adverts included this benefit in September 2022.

Company pension schemes (44,085) showed up as the next most likely benefit to be included in a UK job advert, with remote working (41,120), employee discount (40,146), and a company car/ car allowance (33,239) rounding up the top five.

Accounting and finance employers appear to be most likely to offer a role with home working – Adzuna job adverts in this sector listed remote working as a benefit more frequently than any other.

Kerry Fawcett, Digital Director at iCompario said: “The study findings show how important a role benefits can play in retaining a happy and loyal workforce. Many workplace benefits make a tangible difference to people’s lives, and workers are much more likely to stay put in their current role if they feel that their employer is rewarding them sufficiently for their efforts.”

Paul Lewis, chief customer officer at Adzuna, comments: “In 2022, companies are turning to work perks to tempt talent to join them over their competition. Employees are putting more focus on health, wellbeing and work-life balance, so it’s no surprise to see a surge in jobs advertising perks like wellness programmes or getting your birthday off. Against the backdrop of a burnout epidemic and trends like quiet quitting, the best employers are providing extra flexibility and mental health support to their workforce.”

Gareth Hoyle, Managing Director at Marketing Signals, whose company introduced a four-day working week for their employees earlier this year, commented: “We introduced the 4 day week for a number of reasons – the main ones being a number of employees were asking for more flexibility in their working pattern to deal with the challenges that life throws at them and also a desire from myself for all my colleagues to have the freedom and flexibility that our chosen career should give us. We work remotely on laptops to start with so that likely makes it easier to deal with the change. We also work a 32-hour full time week, so no additional time is added to the working days.

“The catalyst was when one of our developers asked for a permanent 4-day week to help with childcare. A lot of what we do is measurable – code commits, features, implemented, links built etc – this makes it much easier to analyse the change that occurs and make qualified decisions on whether something has been a success or not. The benefits of the 4-day week have been a higher retention rate of existing employees and a great carrot for new hires as we implement this as front and centre in our attraction messaging. Everyone just seems much happier, and the output hasn’t slowed so all good on those fronts!

“In terms of negatives, it can be frustrating when you want an instant answer and the person you need to speak to is on a non-working day. Setting more realistic expectations has helped ease this issue but it is still there – even when we know for sure that 2-3 people are fully up to speed on each task and project. The vast majority of clients have been supportive, and one is even trialling it within certain functions of their business.

“Would I recommend a 4-day work week to other business owners? As long as you trust your processes and systems and are confident you are tracking the right things, then go for it. It won’t work for everyone, but for us, we love it and certainly don’t plan on going back. Five days on for two days off just doesn’t seem like a fair swap when you get used to two, four-day weekends per month!”

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SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024