Employees are seeking security through workplace benefits such as health insurance and pensions in a bid to shore up their future in the face of a fast-changing economic climate, according to a new survey by Bupa Wellbeing Index.

The research found that health insurance ranked in the top three most sought-after benefits for a third (39%) of employees. 

This was behind only flexible working (53%) and a company pension scheme (46%). 

The other core benefits employees prioritised were employee discounts (36%) and free lunches (25%), showing that as belts are tightened with the cost-of-living crisis, people are relying on their employers to support them in navigating economic uncertainty.  


Will benefits increase staff retention?

As the war for talent continues, benefits play a significant role in staff attraction and retention.

More than two-fifths of employees (42%) said they would be more likely to stay in their current role if it offered good health and wellbeing benefits, while 28 percent say they would feel more valued if their employer offered more benefits to ease their cost-of-living.

Almost a fifth (19%) said that health insurance through work is a priority benefit for them as a result of financial pressures. 


Do employees actually use their health insurance?

The Bupa Wellbeing Index data also shows employees are making good use of their health insurance. A staggering 42 percent of those with health and wellbeing benefits have used them in the last 12 months. 

But sadly, the ‘long-tail’ mental health impact of the pandemic is still being felt across generations, possibly exacerbated by the acute stresses of economic uncertainty.

Mental health conditions such as anxiety (11%) and depression (9%) were the most commonly addressed, in addition to Covid-19 (8%), along with musculoskeletal issues such as back or joint pain (6%). 

Overall, Bupa has seen claims for mental health conditions increase by 40 percent between 2019 – 2021.

Alex Perry, CEO of Bupa UK Insurance, commented: “In challenging economic times, benefits like health insurance are really valued by employees and offer great reassurance. Knowing that high-quality healthcare is there when it’s needed gives employees important reassurance. Setting out strong commitments to their employee wellbeing will help UK businesses attract and retain the brightest and best. Our data shows that looking after employees over the long-term by prioritising their health, and that of their families, will always win out.”






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.