Higher pay or benefits: which would you choose?

Mark Griffiths
Head of Social Impact

Imagine two jobs: one pays more, but offers no benefits or protections. The other pays less, but does. Which would you choose?

As part of the research for our whitepaper ‘Worker wants and needs in the UK platform economy’, we posed this question to 1,000 flexible workers in the UK, who work through apps such as Uber, Task Rabbit or Amazon Flex.

Only 10% of respondents said that they would take the higher paid job. For the rest, it is clear that they are looking for more than pay from their role. 

The top five benefits and protections that people are looking for the platform they work through to provide are:

  • Holiday pay 
  • Sick pay 
  • Savings
  • Compassionate leave
  • Free motor insurance

Importantly, these findings of the importance of non-pay benefits and protections when making work choices mirror others’. 

For example:

The consistency of these findings do raise an intriguing question: why such an effect given that someone could take the higher paid role and then pay for the benefits and protections they want, themselves?

The most obvious reason is that doing so as an individual would involve more cost and hassle than having it provided through your work. Often, substantially more cost and hassle.

Another likely reason is that benefits and protection play an important signalling role - they show that you care, and the importance you attach to worker wellbeing. 

Workers may attach a value to that that is higher than the monetary cost. 

For example, a study by McKinsey on the drivers behind the so-called Great Resignation found that the most cited reason people gave for leaving their job (54%) was not feeling valued by their organisation.

Many things influence whether you feel valued at work, but one of the easiest to quickly influence is to put in place benefits and protection programmes that show you care about your workers well being.

The evidence from our two jobs question suggests this is what workers want. That this aligns with what workers’ need brings a double benefit.

If you'd like to find out more about what workers in the platform economy want, read our whitepaper here.

April 26, 2022