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The benefits of non-financial rewards
Published on Friday, 01 Jul 2011
Photo: Bloomberg

For many employees, non-financial benefits are just as important as the monetary component of their package, but negotiating power is far less, writes Emma Charnock, regional director of recruiting experts Hays

According to the 2011 Hays Salary Guide, 78 per cent of employers give their employees benefits, or non-financial rewards, in addition to salaries and bonuses. Health is the number one benefit in Hong Kong, offered by 71 per cent of employers. Life assurance is offered by 63 per cent, a pension by 60 per cent, and a housing allowance by 37 per cent.

Other benefits include tax equalisation, club or gym membership, a car or car allowance, and private expenses.

Typically, benefits increase with experience and the seniority of the position. They are used to motivate and reward top performers, with employers recognising that a motivated employee will achieve the best results. Thus, there is little room to negotiate as your performance and value are the determining factors.

We’ve also seen countless cases of employers using benefits to reward top performers when they are unable to increase salaries beyond a certain level.  But again, the awarding of additional benefits is based on the employee’s past performance and is also a tool to motivate future performance.

If you are planning on negotiating your benefits package, tread carefully. Employers will only extend their offers so far. So speak with your recruiter to ensure your expectations are realistic for the role and industry, or you could leave your employer with doubts over your commitment to the role. 

As a final note, expatriate packages that include extensive non-financial rewards are a thing of the past. Traditionally, expats brought a wealth of experience and excellent education from abroad to a company, and as such were rewarded accordingly. But today local candidates are viewed on an equal footing since they also possess excellent overseas education and exposure to worldwide markets.

As a result, non-financial rewards for expats typically include flights to Asia and a relocation allowance for furniture and housing, but this allowance is substantially lower than, say, 10 years ago. Additional benefits are also rare.

Article contributed by Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people