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Shout, shout, let it all out: why it’s time to highlight your benefits package

After two years with plenty of tears and fear, the findings identified by the 2021 DBA Annual Survey Report highlight both the resilience of the UK design sector and the challenges facing agencies as focus turns to the future.

One of the many fascinating insights within this year’s report was that for a whopping 42% of agencies, the biggest issue facing their business right now is ‘Retaining, maintaining and recruiting talent’.  This should be no surprise, after all we have had a tumultuous few years politically, a global pandemic to contend with and sweeping changes to off-payroll working rules (IR35). It could be easy therefore, to feel a sense of resignation to this issue but taking a few simple steps now might have more of an impact in addressing the challenge than you may think.

I’ve spoken with new joiners to agencies across the country and one thing that is consistent from Junior Designers to Executive Creative Directors in all locations, is that they very, very rarely look beyond the Salary on offer and are often unclear as to the wider Employee benefit package on offer. If those who have been successfully recruited to your agency are in the dark as to what you offer beyond the Salary level, you can be sure that the candidate you missed out on was too!

With this in mind, here are 3 simple steps you could take immediately to start to address what is no doubt a challenge that will remain for the foreseeable future;

1. Engage your employees

Consider your existing Employee Benefits offering. Would it attract you if you were joining the business today? Engage with your employees, seek feedback on whether there are there any perks or benefits that they would like to see introduced. If you aren’t yet in a financial position to invest in implementing Private Medical Insurance or a Death in Service Scheme, perhaps consider some cost-effective easy wins such as introducing a Cycle to Work Scheme. 

2. Employee benefits & perks

Create a summary document outlining all of the employee benefits & perks that you make available. Reminding your team occasionally about the benefits on offer and how they can access these, shows you care and that you’ve invested into their wellbeing.

3. Onboarding

Ensure your onboarding process for new joiners includes a specific discussion around the Employee Benefit Package, a reminder of the benefits that you make available and includes a simple ‘to-do’ list with items such as nominating a beneficiary for a Death in Service scheme.

Agencies are often masters of the abstract but whatever you do, ensure you are clearly communicating the tangible benefits of working for and with your company beyond simply the salary on offer. In the wise words of Tears for Fears in 1985 “Shout, shout, let it all out…Come on, I’m talking to you, so come on!”

Benefits: what do design agencies tend to offer?

The usual benefits on offer in agencies tend to be a couple out of the following;

  • Sick pay – above and beyond Statutory Sick Pay
  • Auto-enrolment Pension Scheme (Sometimes companies contribute more than the minimum level required by law)
  • Death In Service Scheme (Life Cover)
  • Income Protection Scheme
  • Health care – Private Medical Insurance
  • Critical Illness


Less typical are the following;

  • Extended number of holiday pay days
  • Extended Maternity / Paternity / Parental leave
  • Company Car
  • Dental Insurance
  • Employee Assistance Programme / Virtual GP (Often included in the more comprehensive income protection schemes)
  • Season ticket loan
  • Childcare vouchers
  • Bike to work
  • Gym subscription / corporate discount
  • Paid volunteer days


It is somewhat anecdotal, but in my experience new joiners are surprisingly interested in those bolded above, which ironically are probably the most cost-effective options.

The DBA Annual Survey Report is an invaluable members-only business tool which enables you to benchmark your financial performance with your peers. Released each October it covers fees, salaries, utilisation, income, recovery rates, benefits and trends within DBA member companies. Find out how it can benefit your business.


About: Gary Morris, Principal, Morris Powell Financial Management

Gary acts as your ‘financial conscience’. Quite simply he gets people to think about their future, their family’s future and the future of their business – and then helps them plan to achieve their goals.

Gary is an accredited DBA Expert. Find out more and contact Gary here.

Image credits:

Oleg Latptev | Unsplash

Tim Mossholder | Unsplash



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