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The benefits being offered to staff and the ones employees see as important have hardly changed in the past two years and there is still a slight mismatch between the two.

According to our research 84% of workers have health and related insurance but this is only important to 62%. Family-friendly schemes, such as an on-site crèche which might encourage more women into the industry, are offered to just 54% of respondents but are important to 67%, unchanged since 2011.

Benefits are crucial in terms of a company’s employer proposition and organisations need to question their staff to discover which benefits are valued by existing employees when they are considering a new role. This will also help an employer to understand what perks potential new hires would value too.

  Request your copy of the 2014 Hays Energy Salary Guide
Popular benefits can vary by age as people have different personal and professional needs as their career progresses, but assumptions should not be made. For example, 71% of under-25s want share incentives but only 29% of people in this age group are offered them. Offering this perk to younger workers could help retention levels.

One of the biggest trends in recent years has been the introduction of flexible benefits which are now available to 60% of energy workers, up from 57% in 2009.

“We are seeing more flexible benefits packages being introduced as employers look to improve everyone’s work-life balance and appease contractors if a day rate cannot be agreed,” says Greg Lettington, Director, Hays Energy. “This includes allowing flexible working or part-time hours, virtually unheard of a few years ago. What drives a permanent employee or contractor’s engagement is not always money. Little perks can swing it for an employer but they must be genuine.”

Interestingly, there are two gaps which are relatively straightforward to address. Professional membership subscriptions and season ticket loans could both be introduced quickly if wished.

Getting the work-life balance right can be crucial to recruiting and retaining energy talent. Currently 46% of workers are satisfied with their mix of professional and personal life while 41% describe it as good. This is virtually unchanged on two years ago, although more women (18%) than men (13%) describe their work-life balance as poor.

The under-25 age group are the happiest with 60% saying their mix is good while those most dissatisfied are in Scotland (28%) and the Midlands (11%). EI members also had better ratings for both work-life balance and job satisfaction than respondents as a whole.

Individuals with Chartered status had higher levels of work-life balance satisfaction and around 6% higher levels of being ‘very satisfied’ with their current job role.

Tailoring benefits for particular groups will become increasingly important as the workforce ages.

The survey reveals that 3% of workers are aged over 66 and this percentage is likely to grow as more people work beyond their traditional retirement age.

Sarah Beacock, skills and capability director at the Energy Institute, says employers must offer the right benefits to older employees to tempt them and keep them. “These people have the skills that companies want and are hard to replace so older workers will increasingly dictate their own benefits packages which might be different to the rest of the workforce,” she says.

Most people (60%) are satisfied with their current role and 20% are very satisfied. However, more than one fifth (21%) are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied – and these are the people who could look to move jobs during 2014.

For organisations looking to hire new talent it can be difficult to tempt good people away from their current job if their pay and benefits are already attractive. Only 16% of people have been with their current employer for less than one year and 45% have worked at the same company for between one and five years and 13% for between 11-20 years.

Energy Institute members tend to stay longer with their employers than other respondents, 34% staying for less than three years compared to 38% for non-Energy Institute members. Although members have a tendency to change their job role over time, their commitment to the industry tends to be greater.

  Request your copy of the 2014 Hays Energy Salary Guide
The length of time employees are staying with one employer shows that if you have the right skills there are plenty of opportunities to progress within organisations and to take on new challenges. However, employers must clearly demonstrate the career paths that are available to their professionals, the qualifications they can gain and the potential financial and professional rewards possible from doing so.

Indeed, when asked what, apart from salary, people consider the most important factor when considering a new role, 31% said career development and 23% a new challenge.

But one worrying trend is that the number of men and women in energy who would recommend their employer to a friend has fallen from 62% in 2011 to 56% last year. This demonstrates that all energy businesses must not be complacent when it comes to employee engagement – however loyal their staff may appear to be.

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