Banking benefits look perky

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'Ask and you shall have' is becoming the mantra for banking and finance employees, as major banking groups agree an increasingly broad range of perks in a tight labour market.

The extended offer spans everything from hot-desking to home working, but is particularly focused on the requirements of new parents: increased maternity leave and 'baby' incentives - including gift certificates, share options, and straight cash - are all the rage.

NAB, ANZ, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank are offering extended maternity leave, paid leave for 'secondary carers', tax-effective salary sacrifice for childcare, and extra childcare centres for their staff.

"There are more and more lurks and perks," says Michael Markiewicz, managing director of recruitment firm Carmichael Fisher. "Companies are finding they need to offer more of these to get people in, and to keep people."

Other recruiters say traditional perks, such as company cars, are still on offer, but employees are being given more latitude to tailor packages to suit their lifestyle. Younger people want more cash and less in the way of occupational pension schemes, older people want the reverse.

"Bonuses are also becoming a big issue for roles that traditionally didn't attract a bonus," says one recruiter, who declined to be named. "It's not uncommon for a decent percentage (say, 50%) of base package to be paid in bonus in addition to the base."

John Banks, from Talent2 International, says the new moves are down to the need to retain existing staff and limit the costs of recruitment: "Banks had undervalued the cost of replacing someone."

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