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Employees largely unaware how much their employers spend on their benefits package

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Almost all employees underestimate the true amount their employer spend on their total reward, research reveals.

According to Aon Consulting, 96% underestimate their employer's benefits spend, highlighting a large gap between perception and reality.

In Aon's survey of over 1,400 respondents, when asked how much they think their company spends on their benefits as a percentage of their individual salary, almost two thirds (60%) said they thought it was no more than 10%.

Just under half (42%) believed that a paltry 5% or less of their equivalent pay was put towards their benefits. And over a quarter (28%) had no idea what their company's benefit spend was.

But in reality, businesses typically contribute between 20% to 40% of salary in additional benefits. Only 2% of those surveyed by Aon believed their employer spent at least 20% of their salary on benefits.

The recession has not had a dramatic impact on employee perceptions of perks. When Aon measured the same perception in 2007, it found 98% of workers underestimated the true amount that employers spend on benefits with over two thirds (69%) saying they thought it was no more than 10%.

Gareth Ashley-Jones, head of flexible benefits at Aon Consulting, said: "It is encouraging to see that some progress has been made since we commissioned our 2007 survey; however, it is still only a mere 2% increase in awareness. There continues to be a huge gap between perception and reality - the research suggests that employees either take their benefits for granted or have no idea of what they actually are. In both cases employers are underselling their investment in the workforce.

"As the economy picks up, companies will need to work even harder to retain their talent. It makes business sense to improve employees' understanding of their benefits - highly effective tools to attract, retain and motivate staff. Relatively simple steps like providing total reward statements to employees are one way of increasing awareness."