New research has revealed that younger workers are bringing a fresh perspective to the workplace when it comes to the “perks” and benefits they expect employers to offer.

In a survey of 2000 UK adults carried out by fertility benefits company Apryl, almost a third (32%) of workers aged 18-24 said women’s health support (such as menstrual or menopause leave) was one of the key workplace benefits that would attract them to a company and encourage them to stay.

Just over a fifth (22%) of this age group were interested in fertility and family-forming support, and almost a quarter (23%) said they’d be attracted to a company that offered enhanced parental leave.

Older workers’ attitudes are yet to catch up

For workers aged 35-54, fertility and women’s health support was less of a priority. Just 21 percent of workers in the older group expressed an interest in menstrual or menopause leave; and even fewer (14%) felt that fertility and family-forming support would attract them to a company and encourage them to stay.

Whilst fertility services may be less relevant for older workers, the findings point to a generational divide in attitudes to the role employers should play in accommodating fertility and women’s health struggles.

Mental health and flexible working are a priority for all

A third of workers (33%) aged 18-24 said mental health and wellbeing support was one of the employee benefits most likely to attract them to an employer and encourage them to stay. 35-54 year olds were just as interested in mental health: 32 percent of the older group also felt that mental health and wellbeing support was an effective attraction and retention tool.

Overall, flexible working came out as the most attractive employee benefit for workers of all ages. Almost half (48%) of respondents aged 18-24 said it would attract them to an employer and encourage them to stay. Flexibility was an even bigger priority for older workers, with 59 percent of 35-54-year-olds saying flexible work was an appealing benefit.

Jenny Saft, CEO and co-founder at Apryl, a company that helps employers offer inclusive fertility benefits, comments:

“The shape of the workforce is shifting – and it’s on employers to keep up. Gen Z and millennials currently make up roughly 38 percent of the workforce, and the influence this group wields will only grow as careers progress and Gen Z enters decision-making roles. Culturally, it’s already clear that Gen Z cares about equity, fairness, diversity and values-alignment when it comes to their work. So in order to attract and retain this group’s talent, it’s on employers to create a company culture and benefits offering that meets and exceeds their needs. This survey makes it clear that flexibility and inclusive mental health, women’s health and fertility support are – and will continue to be – the priority for Gen Z.”

Ally Fekaiki, founder and CEO at employee benefits marketplace Juno, comments:

“This research reflects a trend we’re seeing at Juno for employees who expect more than just a salary from their boss. And so they should! We spend so much of our lives at work and our personal and work lives are unavoidably interconnected. If there’s something going on at home or with our health, it’s going to impact how we show up on Monday. Employers need to recognise this and create simple ways for their employees to access the support they need to live their fullest lives – whether that’s childcare support, therapy, IVF or tickets to a festival. Deeper and more meaningful employee support starts with the power of choice. The employers who recognise this first will sweep up and keep the best talent.”

Sançar Sahin, co-founder at Oliva, a company that helps employers offer mental health support to their teams, comments:

“It’s no surprise that being able to access mental health support through employers is so important to workers of all ages. Mental health problems have been on the rise since the pandemic; and are being experienced against a backdrop of long NHS waiting lists and high fees for private mental health support. Employers have a critical role to play in bringing mental healthcare to the people who need it. Providing access to on-demand support like therapy can help equip all employees with the tools they need to take care of their mental health – both now and in the future.”

Molly Johnson-Jones, co-founder and CEO at Flexa, the global directory of verified flexible companies, comments:

“Not only does this study provide further evidence of flexibility’s pivotal role in the modern working world, but it also demonstrates how the definition of workplace flexibility is already evolving. Gen Z workers are ripping up the work-life rule book and demanding more significant support from their employers. And in doing so, they’re ushering in a new age of workplace flexibility.

“The future of flexibility is about choice. Staff want the power to choose the working style which works best for them. And they don’t just want hybrid or remote working policies. As this study highlights, workers are looking for flexibility in all its forms, from compressed hours and work-from-abroad schemes to mental health support and fertility benefits – and businesses that want to attract the next generation of talent should take note.

“This new approach to flexibility is valuable to businesses, too. It means companies can choose from a wider range of working styles and support, to embrace the flexibility which works best for both the business and its employees.”





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.