By Daniel Hunter

Almost 1 in 7 UK employees are in the dark when it comes to pensions and insurance benefits available through their workplace, according to new research by YouGov.

Figures from a YouGov survey commissioned by Friends Life found that nearly 15% of workers did not know what financial products their employer provided.

When expanded out across the UK workforce, it means more than 3.7 million UK employees could either have paid-for benefits they were unaware of, or are missing out on the chance to have protection insurance or a pension².

However, there is a desire to get financial products via the workplace. When asked which benefits people would consider taking out through their employer, pensions, life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection were among the most popular answers³.

“It’s got to come down to communication,” said Anna Spender, Head of Group Protection Proposition. “Employees need to know what’s on offer and how it can help them. Giving them a few simple pieces of information will allow them to make more informed decisions.

“Not only are workers potentially missing out on really valuable benefits, but employers aren’t getting the full value of the package they’re offering. Life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection can make employees feel valued by their company and can play an important part in any staff wellness programmes. But if employees don’t even know they’re available employers aren’t maximising the good will these benefits can create in staff.”

The workers surveyed said employer contributions and subsidies were the most popular factor in encouraging them to buy a financial product via their employer. Getting a better price or deal than is available on the high street was also a common choice⁴. (See table below)

Research has also showed that nearly 60% of people would rely on their partner's salary or savings5 if they were diagnosed with cancer and unable to work.

“Employers could be the answer to plugging at least part of the protection gap we have in this country,” added Anna Spender. “Employees can be offered some form of cover as part of their terms and conditions or through flexible benefit arrangements where they can purchase in accordance with their needs. Either way, it can help staff to feel more secure knowing they have some financial back up should the worst happen.

“Everyone should know what is available to them. Having almost 1 in 7 unaware of what’s on offer is too many.”

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