Nearly half of UK employees want a monthly cost of living pay boost from their employers, survey finds

Experts say firms can help their staff without committing to ‘unaffordable financial incentives’

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Nearly half (48 per cent) of UK employees want a monthly cost of living pay boost from their employer, a recent survey has revealed.

The global study by Randstad, which polled 2002 UK employees, found that over half (53 per cent) want their employer to increase their salaries outside of the regular schedule of pay reviews.

More than a quarter (28 per cent) said they want subsidies for daily expenses like the cost of energy or travel, while a further 28 per cent want a one-off cost of living payment. 

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The survey also found that businesses are beginning to help workers cope with the present economic climate, as just under a quarter (23 per cent) said their employers have offered them financial support in the form of a wage raise outside of an annual pay review.

Jonathan Boys, senior labour market economist at the CIPD, said the CIPD’s latest labour market outlook report corroborated the findings, as it found over a third of employers (36 per cent) planned to raise wages to alleviate the cost of living crisis. 

“Even as inflation goes down, prices will still be going up, and people’s real spending power will decline,” said Boys, adding that things are likely to get worse as we are “essentially only at the foothills of the cost of living crisis”.

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However, Randstad data found that just under two-fifths (37 per cent) of UK employees received extra assistance that wasn’t a monetary reward or bonus from their place of work to help with the economic situation.

Miranda Kyte, career trends expert at Glassdoor, said employers who cannot afford to offer financial incentives can cushion the financial blow through benefits.

“While some companies may be in a position to offer a bonus, one-off cost of living support payment, or a pay rise, this is not universal, “ said Kyte, adding that their other way employers can support their staff without having to pay for “unaffordable financial incentives” such as on-site meals, commuter benefits or energy stipends. “Employers need to find creative ways to compensate their workers without breaking the bank.”

Meanwhile, a separate survey by PwC, found more than four in five (83 per cent) large employers are taking action or considering ways to help employees in the face of the cost of living crisis.

The study of UK reward specialists revealed that while support is largely going to come through increased pay and one-off bonuses, 15 per cent were also looking at non-monetary interventions, such as increasing staff shopping discounts, supporting employees with home insulation, rolling out financial wellbeing programmes and exploring employee hardship funds.

However, Idris Arshad, people and inclusion partner at St Christopher Hospice, said wages 

haven't gone up in line with inflation, and that businesses cannot keep up as there is “not enough money” to go around.

“I'm all for financial wellbeing strategies and not just monetary support, but organisations have a limit to what they can give,” said Arshad.

“They can be creative and do things like giving vouchers towards Christmas which will help lots of people, and implementing initiatives where staff can access their wages early in the month,” he suggested. But, he said, ultimately if an employee is struggling with money “to a degree that is putting their home, health or family at risk, they should find another job that pays more as organisations have their limits”.