Pensions Top List of Salary Sacrifice Options for European Workers

By Aon Hewitt, PRNE
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands, November 17, 2010 - Europeans are certainly a practical bunch, with nearly 50% of workers
stating that they would sacrifice pay for a higher pension contribution by
their employer, compared to only 13% who would give up some of their salary
for a extra vacation days, according to Aon Hewitt, the world's leading
pensions, benefits and human capital consultant.

Surprisingly, the desire for greater pension contributions from employers
is uniformly the benefit most requested across all surveyed countries. While
pensions have become a hot-button issue across Europe over recent years, this
finding demonstrates that European workers are beginning to take their
long-term savings and future extremely seriously.

This research is part of Aon Hewitt's European Employee Benefits
Benchmark, a survey of more than 7,500 workers from across Belgium, Denmark,
France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the
UK, ten of the leading economies in Europe. The Benchmark focuses on the
views of workers across Europe on topics such as retirement, employee
benefits and other pension-related issues.

Across Europe, financial security in the event of a serious injury or
illness was also a popular 'salary sacrifice' option, as was assistance with
saving for a major expenditure such as a home, car or school fees.

Perhaps indicating envy of their continental counterparts' holiday
allowance, more than one in five (21%) of British workers would be happy to
sacrifice some of their salary for extra annual leave, nearly double the
European average of 13%.

    Top 10 Benefits that Europeans would like if they were part of their pay
    packet, i.e. sacrificing some of the pay they would actually receive.

    Benefit                                                     European

    1.  A higher pension contribution from your employer          49%
    2.  Greater financial protection in the event of              35%
    3.  A savings plan to help save for a specific goal (e.g.     26%
        home deposit, car, school fees)
    4.  Ability to take 3 - 6 months unpaid or part-paid leave    26%
    5.  An education course of worker's choice                    23%
    6.  Childcare                                                 18%
    7.  Alternative healthcare treatments                         15%
    8.  Purchase extra vacation days                              13%
    9.  A home cleaning and ironing service                       10%
    10. Company mobile phone                                       9%

NB: Multiple answers were possible

Ian Hinton, the Global Benefits Practice Leader for Europe at Aon Hewitt,
commented: "Right across the world governments and businesses are struggling
with how to prepare for issues surrounding retirement. At the same time the
increase of the retirement age in many countries, and the financial crisis
impacting many pension funds has focused people's minds on their own
long-term financial security. It is an absolute turnaround that people are
prepared to sacrifice their hard-earned money today for a more financially
secure future tomorrow. Despite the protests in France, and Greece, the
survey suggests that a growing number of employees do understand why changes
are needed to secure their future financial situation. Tension arises,
though, when people see the practical consequences of the measures necessary
to implement and the impact they will have.

"The war for talent may not yet be in full swing again, but employers
need to begin to re-stock their benefits armoury in preparation. Employees
clearly value non-financial benefits, and implementing a flexible benefits
strategy could not only help a firm's staff attraction and retention
programme but can actually be extremely cost effective too."

Please click here to read the full press release:

Notes to editors:

Aon Hewitt has recently published two in depth reports, Employee
Benefits: Getting the Mix Right and Expectations vs. Reality: Meeting
Europe's Retirement Challenge based on the data from the European Employee
Benefits Benchmark. These report give insight into some of the retirement,
benefits and pension issues across an aging workforce in Europe, key human
capital risks for European employers today. The reports can be downloaded

About Aon Hewitt

Aon Hewitt is the global leader in human capital consulting and
outsourcing solutions. The company partners with organisations to solve their
most complex benefits, talent and related financial challenges, and improve
business performance. Aon Hewitt designs, implements, communicates and
administers a wide range of human capital, retirement, investment management,
health care, compensation and talent management strategies. With more than
29,000 professionals in 90 countries, Aon Hewitt makes the world a better
place to work for clients and their employees. For more information on Aon
Hewitt, please visit

Safe Harbour Statement:

Aon Consulting Limited is authorised and regulated by the
Financial Services Authority.

Hewitt Associates Limited is authorised and regulated by the
Financial Services Authority

Media Contact: David Skapinker, PR Manager, Aon, +44(0)20-7505-7478, David.skapinker at; Bartjan Willenborg, Director of Marketing EMEA, Aon Hewitt, +31(0)10-448-7423, Bartjan.Willenborg at

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