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Revealed: The employee benefits wish list for 2024

Young employees demand better support with their finances and wellbeing: 2024 employee benefits wish list revealed

  • Younger employees want better financial support and more wellbeing benefits, as they continue to bear the brunt of the cost-of-living crisis.
  • 67% of young workers admit that the cost of living crisis has changed their outlook on what is important, altering the popularity of more ‘traditional’ benefits such as season ticket loans.
  • Businesses that are failing to meet these needs risk missing out on talent – 62% of young people would now leave their job if they were offered a better benefits package elsewhere.

Increased financial support and benefits that promote better wellbeing top the list of younger employees’ wants for 2024, according to new research from employee benefits technology company, Zest.

The most desired benefits for employees aged 18-34 are as follows:

Rank Benefit

Increased pension contributions (27%)


Private medical insurance (26%)


Paid mental health leave (24%)


Employer contribution to energy costs at home (21%)


Discounts on high street shops and brands (20%)


The most popular benefits highlight the growing demand from younger employees for employers to better support their finances, and overall wellbeing, as younger people in particular continue to struggle with rising living costs. Around seven in ten (67%) admit that the cost of living crisis has changed their outlook on what is important to them and the same proportion (67%) would like more financial support from their employer.

With a rise in hybrid working, more ‘traditional’ company perks such as assistance with travel costs are of lesser interest. Ranking among some of the most unpopular benefits was a season ticket loan (4%) and less than one in ten (8%) now want a cycle to work scheme.

On the contrary, wellbeing benefits are on the rise – 31% of younger employees say that they want more wellbeing benefits, again higher than the average of 24%. According to other research, a quarter say their mental wellbeing has never been worse because of money worries, increasing to more than a third (36%) of 25-34 year olds.** The link between poor finances and poor mental wellbeing could explain why a quarter (24%) of 18-34 year olds now want paid mental health leave – higher than the average of 18%.

As younger generations increasingly populate the workforce***, listening to their needs is critical. 57% of this demographic now say that benefits packages are the most important thing they look for in employment, and 62% say that they would leave their current job if someone offered them benefits elsewhere.

With three in ten (29%) businesses being unable to raise salaries in line with inflation, employee benefits are a key way employers can support young workers in other ways beyond salary.

Matt Russell, CEO of Zest commented: “Never has the need for effective benefits packages been more apparent. With many businesses unable to raise salaries during the cost of living crisis, benefits provide a way to support employees with their finances and overall wellbeing, both of which are being affected by the crisis.

“With the new hybrid world of work clearly established, more ‘traditional’ benefits such as support with travel costs, have become outdated. Modern employees who work from home for half of the week, or entirely remotely, will benefit very little from a season ticket loan and according to our findings, would be far better off with paid mental health leave to use at their discretion.

“With younger employees – who often place more value on their benefits than older generations – increasingly populating the workforce, businesses that are unable to effectively deliver on their needs will miss out in more ways than one.”

Zest is an employee benefits technology company that currently serves large SMEs and Enterprise customers across the world including Hargreaves Lansdown, Taylor Wimpey, Yahoo and Travis Perkins.

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