The latest research released from the reward experts at Thomsons Online Benefits, Employee Rewards Watch: Financial Services 2010, shows that the financial services sector seems more positive about the coming year in comparison to respondents across all other sectors.

Nearly seven out of ten financial services respondents report they are more optimistic about their business than last year (65.96 percent). And almost half anticipate a pay rise of either 2 percent (22.50 percent) or 3 percent (22.50 percent) in the coming year.

These are just some of the newest industry insights revealed in the first Thomsons “Employee Rewards Watch: Financial Services”, in which 47 financial services organisations took part. This is the first of three reports for key market segments.

Key findings for 2010 include:

  • More financial services respondents are able to report how much they are spending on employee benefits (51.06 percent) than all respondents (30.05), two in ten (21.28 percent) are still unable to measure the effectiveness of their strategy – twice that of the total population (9.63 percent);
  • Looking into 2010 financial services organisations will be focusing on employee engagement (48.94 percent) and reviewing their benefits/reward strategy (42.55 percent);
  • Opinion seems drawn as to whether these new restrictions on reward strategies will impact the UK’s ability to attract and retain top talent in this sector, with 38.00 percent claiming it won’t make any difference and 34.00 percent claiming it will.

Michael Whitfield, Chief Executive Officer of Thomsons Online Benefits comments “Without doubt the recent economic turmoil has seen reward strategies put under the microscope like never before. The media has fuelled a vitriolic debate suggesting that the entire reason for the crash can be laid firmly at the door of the fat cats and their reward packages in the financial services sector.

With the public and the politicians seemingly united in their focus here, the baying for blood could not be louder. We have already seen bankers hit with a windfall bonus tax, and the Financial Services Authority introducing a new code of practice on remuneration, the latter will undoubtedly have some impact on reward strategies.

Despite these levies, and the recent profit tax announced in June’s Emergency Budget, it is good to see that in adversity HR teams are swimming against the tide and looking to try and re-engage a largely disenchanted financial services population.

With 48.94% focussing on employee engagement and 42.55% reviewing their benefits/reward strategy in 2010, there is little doubt that HR teams up and down the UK are looking at new ways to lock in and motivate their people, whilst at the same time looking to banish the spectre of the 2008 banking crisis and all the carnage that ensued."