In 2017, we were asked by several employers to research and present what was happening with benefits in architecture and design. Employee benefits have become a hot topic amongst HR Managers and Directors of practices and many have recognised that this is an integral part of retaining current staff and attracting talent to their businesses.
63 London practices took part in the survey, who for consistency, provided details of base benefits (uninflected for length of service) for an Architect, Technician or Designer with 5 years ‘experience that had already passed probation.
When compiled, the data showed huge variations between statutory minimums and slightly or significantly enhanced benefits.
Holiday ranges from a minimum of 20 days, to a maximum of 28 with smalland half of medium sized businesses offering, on average, the lowest amount of holidays to employees. Overtime pay is mostly at the discretion of the business with only 8% of the companies surveyed having a formal approach to overtime pay. When it comes to private healthcare, 14% offered this coverage to staff, with two covering the cost of family private healthcare. The same percentage of employers (14%) also offered death in service coverage. The majority of companies are running statutory level employer contributions to pension schemes and those who are going above and beyond are offering up to 5%.
The trends show that practices fall into four broad benefit categories based on their size;
“Small and medium sized businesses offer, on average, the lowest amount of holidays to employees”
Across all categories and contributors, soft benefits such as social events, cycle to work schemes, summer and Christmas functions and team building trips are the norm, architecture and design offices are a social place to work.
Maternity pay is a big talking point with employers across the country, but how many firms offer more than statutory? Darnton commented: “One company offers full pay during standard maternity leave.The large majority, 71%, offer statutory maternity pay, the remaining businesses offering some kind of enhanced scheme. The range of enhanced schemes differs hugely, between 2 weeks full pay to 12 weeks at full pay.”
Why new school or old school? Practices falling into the new school category are overtly driving an employee-centered strategy to run their business, the old school practices are following a project centered strategy to running their business.
Does that mean that working in a new school, old school, small or large practice is better? Definitely not… Just like pay, benefits are an emotive subject and are only part of the overall value proposition to an employee.
When it comes to benefits in architecture and design, there is no normal.