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  • The Benefits Conundrum

    Posted on 30th March 2016 in Blog

    Packages improving but failing to engage - time for some thought?

    There has been a year on year enhancement of the benefits package. 47% of legal professionals benefited from above statutory minimum holidays compared to 35% last year and PMI crept up.


    Two thirds of legal professionals however were either on the fence or expressed some level of dissatisfaction about the benefits package they received.

    With such a wide array of benefit package options to consider it seems an almost impossible task to get right. Fortunately the legal profession has spoken – holidays, bonus, flexi and private healthcare were among the top 4 most wanted once again. Keep things this simple and your engagement levels will rise.

    The statistics -  

    60% of legal professionals that received a bonus in the last 12 months were satisfied or very satisfied with their package. Similarly 56% of legal professionals who benefited from PMI, 55% who worked flexi-time and 48% with above statutory holiday entitlement were also satisfied or very satisfied. 

    From a staff retention angle 64% of all legal professionals who received one or all of the four benefits were satisfied or strongly satisfied in their current role. Our research has shown that legal professionals demonstrating some kind of dissatisfaction are 8 times more likely to move jobs than those feeling the love.

    Bonus was the top rated benefit for male lawyers (18%) followed by flexible working at 12%. Bonus and flexible working were joint top for female lawyers (both 18%). 12% of male lawyers ranked flexible working as their top benefit. 28% of male lawyers received a bonus in 2015 compared to 21% of female lawyers. 

    Only 20% of all legal professionals who received a bonus were looking to change jobs in the next 6 months compared to 32% across the board. Legal professionals benefiting from flexi-time, enhanced holidays or PMI were also in general less likely to be moving jobs in the next 6 months.

    The secret of success?

    Well if a firm is not perming at least any 3 of the 4 top benefits then the chances are the benefits package is not hitting the mark. There are strong arguments for flexible benefits packages but in reality business generally looks for scalability and low administrative costs. However by identifying holidays, bonus, flexi and private healthcare as the most wanted employees may subconsciously be starting to perceive the benefits package as a manifestation of the psychological contract. 

    The psychological contract - if you ain't familiar with the terminology - refers to the unwritten set of expectations of the employment relationship as distinct from the formal, codified employment contract. Taken together, the psychological contract and the employment contract define the employer-employee relationship. Thanks Google.

    By identifying the core elements of a successful benefits package are employees actually saying “I will deliver and stay loyal if, as well as paying me something around market rate salary, you recognise my achievements; give me space; time for my life and look after me if I need it”? Ergo the secret to putting in place a successful benefits package could simply be to align it with the psychological contract. An employer could actually dispense with the benefits package if employees believed they could meet these expectations.  

    Did that make sense? If it did I might be on to something although I am open to accusations that I have been crunching too much data over the last few months – why not check out the 2016 Salary and Benefits Benchmarker and see for yourself.


    Jonathan Nolan


    Douglas Scott Legal Recruitment


    legal profession, 2016 Salary and Benefits Benchmarker, Benefits Package,

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