Stella Chaplin of Atkins on the need to act on age demographics data
We have been looking at our workforce demographics data as a team, to help us better understand our employees. We have already made some interesting discoveries.
Shift in average age
Our first discovery is that the average age of our workforce has shifted. Many long-standing staff have moved on, meaning that, now, around half of our employee base is under 40 and 30% are under 30. Most organisations have recruitment and retention challenges now, so this data could help us to understand how to stop staff moving elsewhere.
Atkins has always had an advantage with retention, especially pre-Covid-19, because of our flexible working arrangements and the fact that we allowed people to buy up to 15 days of additional holiday. This made us an attractive employer, but we suddenly lost that competitive advantage when most of the UK had to move to homeworking.
Exploring other options
We had to explore other options, and pension contributions were a focus. We pay a lot in pension contributions but don’t allow younger workers to divert that into different routes. This insight showed that we are not appealing to the younger population with that particular benefit.
I would like to use some of our pensions budget in a different way that would better suit younger workers. We have obligations under auto-enrolment and have good traction (most of our employees participate), but our younger employees just aren’t interested in pensions. We could find the ability to divert that pension money into funds that would allow people to start building up their deposit savings so they can get on the property ladder, or to further their education and training.
Building on the tools you have
We currently use our EAP provider to do a monthly webinar and agree a schedule of topics they will cover – our provider has over 60 webinar topics to roll out each year. It is about trying to make use of the tools you already have and building on them.
When it comes to the cost-of-living crisis, Atkins will be keeping an eye on salaries. You need to pay the right amount for the market and not just increase pay because of the crisis. That is where all the financial wellbeing benefits we offer – broader than just salary – come into play, such as discount platforms.