British workers are becoming less satisfied with the benefits provided by their employers, new research has revealed.

The study on perceptions of benefits and wellbeing schemes from Willis PMI Group, part of Willis Towers Watson, found 44 per cent of employees are happy with the benefits they receive, compared to 53 per cent last year.

So, despite increasing recognition of the positive impact benefits and wellbeing schemes can have on staff performance, it appears employees’ expectations are still not being met. This is further underlined by regional differences in the study – although workers in London (55 per cent) and Scotland (52 per cent) appear reasonably satisfied, there are significant variations across Britain and satisfaction dips as low as 36 per cent in the North West.

“Given the current focus on reducing the burden of employee ill health and sickness absence on the economy, it is surprising to find the perception of benefits provision is actually on the decline,” said Mike Blake, Director at Willis PMI Group. “Companies might ask whether this is due to increasing expectation, a shortfall in provision or a failure to properly communicate available benefits to staff.

“It is important for employers to identify the specific challenges faced by their business and actively engage with their staff in order to better understand what benefits are both needed and wanted. Schemes will be most successful when they align the goals of the organisation with the desires of employees.”

The research also found only 37 per cent of workers surveyed said their employers currently make provisions to look after their health and wellbeing. In addition, it revealed significant variations by region, with provision highest in Scotland (48 per cent) and London (44 per cent), and lowest in the Midlands (30 per cent).

“The high response in London can perhaps be expected, considering the high concentration of large corporate organisations, but it is encouraging to note this is also the case in Scotland,” added Blake.

“Benefits and wellbeing schemes are important tools for boosting health and productivity, tackling sickness absence and improving employee satisfaction. By utilising the full range of benefits available to them, employers can take targeted action to address specific issues arising from a wide range of health conditions, from musculoskeletal problems to stress.”