New study reveals just 12% of jobs cite health and wellbeing benefits on online listings, despite UK sick leave epidemic
Finance sector and Northern Ireland lead the wellbeing reward league
A new study auditing more than 5,500 jobs posted online in July 2023 has revealed that despite UK workers taking more sick days than ever before, employment packages fall short when it comes to incentives that support good health and wellbeing at work.
The research* encompassed roles within the education, finance, government and public sector, healthcare, hospitality and HR and recruitment industries. It found that only 12% of the positions listed health-related perks such as private healthcare, wellbeing perks or life insurance as part of the employment package.
Even fewer roles advertised healthy lifestyle options and wellbeing rewards like access to the government’s Bike2Work scheme (10%), use of free gym classes or discounted gym memberships, shopping and cinema vouchers (5%) and a birthday day off (2%).
Workers in the finance sector are more likely to have bosses who prioritise employee health, with 41% of roles featuring healthcare and wellbeing perks, while government and public sector positions ranked bottom, with just 7% of jobs listing such incentives.
Reviewing the UK as a whole, Northern Ireland jobseekers were best off, with nearly one third (31%) of job packages citing healthcare and wellbeing benefits, followed by North East England (15%), Yorkshire and the Humber (15%) and the North West (15%). The areas listing the least health perks were Wales (4%) and Scotland (6%). A total of 17% of fully remote positions promoted health initiatives in the job ads.
Dr Natasha Fernando, head of clinical excellence at Plasma by Medichecks, explains: “Since the pandemic, the narrative around employment has massively changed, with a noticeable shift in employees being encouraged to have better work life balance and to prioritise their mental and physical health.
“Yet this study proves that in many cases that’s just rhetoric. In fact, ONS data released earlier this year found sickness absence in the UK labour market reached a record high in 2022 – accounting for an estimated 185.6 million working days lost.
“The lack of employee benefits which support improved health and wellbeing therefore seems incredibly low. And although budgets may be tight for many businesses, it is in the interests of employers – both commercially and ethically – to do all they can to keep their teams healthy, happy and productive at work.”
As a diagnostics partner for everyone from digital health companies and private healthcare providers to public sector organisations such as the police force and ambulance service, Plasma by Medichecks has witnessed a surge in demand for blood testing services.
Natasha continues: “The strain on NHS services means that many people want to take more ownership of their own health by understanding, through personalised testing, how their body is performing and what improvements they can make to their diet and lifestyle to safeguard their health for the future. As a result, workers are calling on their employers to offer up rewards that actually make a difference.
“It’s encouraging to see how the finance sector has taken stock, particularly in an industry renowned for its fast pace and staff burnout. It’s important that more business leaders recognise what an important role they could play in keeping Britain healthy, too.”
*Undertaken by pathology testing platform Plasma by Medichecks,