Nearly a third (32%) of employers with overseas staff do not benchmark their employee benefits, according to research from Towergate Health & Protection, potentially missing an opportunity to target their benefits more effectively.

Sarah Dennis, head of international at Towergate Health & Protection, says: “Benchmarking can be an incredibly useful way to ensure a company offers the most appropriate and effective benefits to employees, which can also help with recruitment and retention. While many employers with overseas staff clearly see the value in benchmarking, more could benefit from it being more comprehensive.”

As part of the exercise, it’s helpful to look at statutory and mandatory benefits, current trends, as well as how companies can improve their offering, but also ensuring they’re not unwittingly over-compensating.

Looking more precisely at how the benchmarking takes place and across which indicators, employers with overseas staff are most likely to benchmark by geographical region (45%), then by size of company (41%). They are least likely to benchmark by sector (28%).


While it makes sense to benchmark by geographical area and company size, it is important that businesses do not forget to look at industry sector too. Companies often focus their recruitment and retention strategy on targeting talent within a particular industry, so it is important that they know how to compete by sector.

It is positive to see that the majority (57%) of companies with overseas staff see the value in benchmarking to help with recruitment and retention, and 37% state that benchmarking helps to direct their benefits spend.

Reasons given for not benchmarking benefits, by one in four (25%) employers, is that they believe it will be expensive or that they simply do not know how to go about it. However, the advantages mean that they are able to offer benefits that are carefully aligned to give the company the edge in recruitment and retention, and this can make the benchmarking process very cost-effective. In addition, health and wellbeing specialists can assist with benchmarking.

Sarah Dennis says: “There are good reasons for companies with staff abroad being inclined to benchmark their benefits, particularly as they compete for talent. However, they need to make sure they are benchmarking the right indicators, and not limiting themselves to location and size of company alone. Benchmarking is a very useful way to achieve a really clear picture of where and how to apply benefits spend to create real value for money: always a critical factor for every company.”

Sarah Dennis
Towergate Health & Protection combines a whole of market, independent insurance broking service for businesses and individuals throughout the world with specialist health and wellbeing advice and solutions. The company aims to help clients manage their health risks and improve the wellbeing of themselves, their families and employees, resulting in a healthy, motivated and productive workforce.