The Disparity in Benefit Preferences of Male And Female Employees

A growing number of young employees and job seekers are drawn to companies that offer the ideal work-life balance benefits. Marketing Strategist firm Fractl published their 2017 study, covering several aspects of benefit considerations among the employed and job-seekers. One noteworthy aspect of their study is the result of the top preferences of male and female employees. And as expected, the result showed distinct choices of 2,000 respondents.

Competition among businesses in attracting and retaining the best talents possible is tight, and offering a wide array of benefit packages is a sure way of getting the right people in the team. As women continue to penetrate to once male-exclusive workplaces, companies adjust to the needs of their increasing female employees. Plus with the growing health concerns of the population, investing on the best bargain of insurance and fitness programs is becoming a must. These only show that other than the compensation, people want to have the best bargain by getting a good pay and enjoyable perks.

The Top Choices

Free fitness or yoga classes top the preference chart of women, while men prefer team bonding activities, company-wide retreats and weekly free employee outings. We could somehow infer that female employees are more conscious of their well-being compared to men. However, a similar perk comes in fourth on the list for men. On-site gym facilities are also getting more common as staying fit and healthy is encouraged. Fitness tracking or calorie-measuring apps and devices are provided to reinforce health programs.

Perhaps bonding with colleagues is more preferred by men because this is how they unwind, say after a day's work. Whereas women's way of distressing is through workouts and meditation. Regardless of the reasons, these benefits are nonetheless low-cost, though costly health care insurance still tops as the most desirable and attractive benefit to employees and job seekers.

Paid Parental Leave

This turns out to be a surprise when paid parental leave is highly preferred by women but not by men, for a growing number of companies offer paid paternal leave. We suppose women rely on the generosity and discretion of their employers when it comes to this issue, as the government is yet to legalize paid parental leave this year through the Family and Medical Leave Act. While there are those who already enjoy this entitlement, this is still deemed as something exclusive to corporate workers.

In line with this, women would also want their companies to provide free day care services. In fact, day care services is a growing industry in the United States, since both parents often work and this allows them to save compared to getting a nanny to look after their children.

With the gig economy, people are now into flexible hours or work-from-home options to have more time for themselves. Their entering the ranking is not much of a surprise as women are more burdened by the affairs of their household compared to men.

Vacation Allowances

As we can see, vacation-related benefits are mostly preferred by women but are undeniably desirable to the general public. Conforming to the work-life balance principle of this generation, this benefit has been adapted to promote a guilt-free time off.

Extended vacation periods are being implemented by a few small and medium-sized companies. Unlimited vacation time went under the spotlight when media giants Netflix and LinkedIn adapted this. However, this works best given in a controlled premise and open communication between the employee and employer.

Many still raise their brows when long vacation breaks are made to become the answer to decreasing productivity and burnouts. Although many would contest the benefits of extended time offs, there are also companies that express their satisfaction seeing their employees produce better results after. There may be some promising results brought about by this policy, but surveys continue to show that not all workers avail this, especially women.

In a survey conducted by Glassdoor, only 44% of the female respondents claim they've used up their vacation time, compared to last year's 46%. According to some respondents, several reasons like dedication, guilt, and fear of being replaced hold them back from availing all their vacation time and this thinking is more common among millennial women.

Educational Assistance

Financial loans and assistance for employees are becoming widespread in various sectors to encourage further studies and pursue higher degrees, other than to retain employees. Furthermore, it also gives the company an advantage with the workforce's increasing knowledge and expertise through continuous education. While this is clearly ideal for everybody as tuition fees unceasingly increase, only the female respondents heavily considered these grants in the study. Moreover, the study further stated that while many companies offer this benefit, less than 5% of employees take advantage of it.

A total of 40% of female respondents find these perks appealing and could draw them to apply to companies that offer these even if they'd be compensated lower compared to other prospects.

Other Freebies

Free coffee and snacks also made it to the list and are popular among male employees. The researchers even find these two quite surprising to have been included in the ranking. Free snacks and coffee signal generosity of the company and their investment in the employees' health and happiness.

Final Thoughts

We can clearly see the statistics that women heavily consider perks that could alleviate their common concerns in the workplace. Furthermore, people are increasingly conscious of their health, thus the strong preference on health and fitness benefits. Might as well include the work-life balance concept in the picture, then we have a growing desire for long guilt-free vacation time to be spent with loved ones. Giving women the opportunity to focus on their families without the added pressure and demands of work promotes balance and equality, and this is something this generation of workers looks for in a company. With the changing tides of time, companies should also meet the needs and demands in order to keep their businesses afloat.