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What employee benefits should companies offer graduates?

As summer draws to an end, graduates begin a new chapter in their lives – they enter the workforce. Brimming with fresh perspectives and untapped potential, it’s no wonder that top companies across the UK set up graduate schemes, programmes, and jobs to attract these young minds. But the competition is fierce and companies need to step up their game. How to attract graduates? The answer is employee benefits.

According to the Employee Benefits, Health and Wellbeing Survey 2021, a staggering 93% of graduates under the age of 25 said that employee benefits play a key role in whether or not they want to work for a company. So if you’d like to be a company that graduates are inclined towards, this Pacific Prime UK takes a closer look at the employee benefits you should be offering.

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Understanding graduates in 2021

Before we list out the employee benefits your company should be offering, let’s take a closer look at the characteristics of graduates in 2021. That said, please bear in mind that these are generalised for information purposes only. We understand that each individual’s behaviour and desires are influenced by a range of factors like personality, culture, gender, upbringing and other nuances.

Having been born in the year 2000 (+/- a few years), graduates in 2021 are most likely Gen Z (also known as iGen or Zoomers). They are the first digital natives of the world and were born into the age of the internet. Yet, they still prioritise offline relationships and in-person interactions. As such, authenticity, connectivity, and trust is of utmost importance to them.

Gen Z’ers are also ambitious, seeking both personal and career growth. At the same time, they’re also concerned about the economy and desire financial security (especially graduating during a pandemic), and are more likely than any other generation to seek out mental health support for anxiety and depression. What’s more, they have a strong moral compass and are passionate about social causes.

Further reading: Discover more about the different generations in the workplace and zoom in on the recruitment strategy for Gen Z’ers.

Top 4 most important employee benefits for graduates in 2021

Based on the Employee Benefits, Health and Wellbeing Survey 2021, graduates were most attracted to benefits that gave them a better work-life balance and prioritised their health and wellbeing. Here’s the full breakdown:

1. Flexitime

Flextime allows employees to choose the starting and finishing time, as long as they work the contracted number of hours a day. This is because there’s no reason why an employee can’t work 10 to 6 or even 8 to 4 instead of the standard, 9 to 5 workday. Overall, graduates are highly attracted to flexitime. In fact, when asked how employers could better support their physical, mental, and personal wellbeing, almost 9 in 10 (86%) said flexible working hours.

How working from home can help graduates stay healthy

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a shift to working from home and flexible working arrangements, giving employees in the UK (and elsewhere) a reference point. They discovered that doing so actually had a number of physical and mental health benefits. For starters, they could enjoy regular exercise during the week rather than ‘binge exercising’ during the weekend.

Graduates claimed:

  • Working from home would give them the opportunity to be more physically active during the week (86%).
  • Working from home would give them a chance to walk more during the working week, instead of only at the weekend (37%).
  • Working from home would allow them to engage in more wellness activities, like gardening (50%).
  • Working from home would let them enjoy more healthy, home-cooked meals during the week (50%).

2. Health days

Did you know that Nike recently closed its corporate office and gave its staff a week off to support their mental health? More and more companies are following this lead and prioritising time off for health reasons. After an unprecedented year, over half of graduates (57%) would like their employers to support them with an additional ‘health day’ allowance for personal wellbeing.

3. Private health insurance and dental coverage

Staying on the theme of health and wellbeing, 43% of graduates desire financial support via employee benefits like private health insurance and dental coverage. In the context of the UK, it’s not difficult to see why. The country is home to an increasingly backlogged National Health Service (NHS), made worse due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a bank-breakingly expensive private healthcare sector.

4. Wellness benefits

That being said, graduates prefer to take a preventative approach to health and wellbeing. Almost a third (29%) said they would like their employers to subsidise health and fitness benefits. This included support for exercise equipment such as weights. What’s more, graduates are also inclined towards mental health support such as an employee assistance program (EAP).

Further reading: FInd out the main characteristics of an EAP.


Perhaps unsurprisingly, monetary benefits were the least desired employee benefits amongst graduates. A mere 14% of graduates prioritised monetary benefits over health and wellness benefits.

Want to design an attractive employee benefits package? Get in touch with Pacific Prime UK today!

If you’re ready to make your company graduate ready, you can get in touch with Pacific Prime UK today. As a global health insurance brokerage and employee benefits specialist, we have 20+ years of experience helping companies of all sizes design, implement, manage, and optimise their employee benefits package. We keep our finger on the pulse regarding the latest industry trends and adopt a tailored, technology-driven approach.

Arrange a FREE consultation with our corporate team today!

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime UK
Suphanida aims to demystify the world of insurance by creating informative and engaging content. As a wordsmith, she spends the majority of her day writing and editing website content, blog posts, in-depth guides, and more.

Outside of work, Suphanida enjoys travelling to new places and immersing herself in different cultures.