UK Employee Benefits Market set to expand: MetLife
Employee benefit consultants (EBCs) are forecasting market growth for the United Kingdom, despite concerns about major challenges from newly-introduced data regulations and the impact of Brexit.
New research* published in November 2017 by MetLife Employee Benefits shows that more than two out of five consultants (42%) expect their businesses to grow over the next year and another 41% believe they will, at the very least, stand still. Just 13% of those questioned fear their businesses will suffer a slowdown.
Figures showing that 55% are planning to invest in technology, while nearly two out of five (36%) are planning to recruit more staff to help address the growing list of regulatory and economic challenges facing the industry, have given rise to some optimism, however nearly two out of three EBCs (63%) warn that GDPR issues are a major challenge for the industry while 68% highlight the ongoing impact of preparations for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union by 31 March, 2019.
Domestic issues are an even bigger threat, according to EBCs. Around 84% of respondents warn the continuing growth of the “gig economy” threatens how benefits are provided as workplaces change, while 81% point to the need to adapt benefits to an aging workforce.
There needs to be more focus on communication – 83% say the value of benefits must be better explained to staff – to get employees to fully engage with their benefits, and for employers to receive the maximum return on their investment. Consultants also concede they have to do a better job, with 58% admitting they should do more to outline the link between increased productivity and employee benefits to employers, and 73% say the rising cost of benefits has to be better explained to employers.
The switch to greater use of digital delivery methods and data storage means more effort has to go into protecting data and reassuring staff. Around 50% of EBCs believe cyber-security will be a growing issue over the next two years.
*1 Independent research carried out by Pollright among a representative sample of 202 employee benefit consultants using an online methodology during September 2017