Three quarters (75%) of employee benefits professionals believe the enhanced use of data and the application of innovative technologies to improve the employee experience are the primary growth opportunities for the employee benefits sector globally over the next two years.
This is according to the inaugural MAXIS Global Perspectives report, which reveals the majority of sector professionals are bullish about the opportunities presented by data management technologies and new digital processes.
The application of data and implementation of new technologies are seen as the drivers most likely to shape product and service offerings in the future, according to 81% of sector professionals surveyed.
Almost half (49%) said they were looking to invest in data and digital tools to make the process of providing employee benefits simpler and more efficient.
Meanwhile, cost was the biggest concern for 79% of respondents, with the increasing price of employee benefits solutions identified as the number one barrier preventing the development of better global employee benefits provision.
More than half (54%) said better cost modelling should be a top priority for the global employee benefits industry.
Delivering flexible benefits tailored to employees was also seen as a major trend shaping the sector.
Almost three quarters (72%) of respondents said their current employee benefits arrangements are based around a one-size-fits-all strategy, yet 44% said this is now seen as inappropriate for the changing needs of their employees.
The majority of respondents (81%) said they have developed or are developing specific plans to adapt to the future benefit demands of employees, highlighting the need for flexible schemes designed around individual needs (46%) and employee “build your own” schemes (42%).
Two thirds (65%) said they believe that the millennial generation of employees require new and more specific employee benefits packages.
Two thirds (66%) cited social developments such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights as a key emerging trend that will shape future product and service offerings.
Mauro Dugulin, chief executive of MAXIS GBN, said the challenge and opportunity will be for businesses to build programmes that capitalise on global solutions where applicable, but also offer the range of local benefits that employees are looking for and value the most.
“This need for global and local solutions has a common denominator: better management of the underlying data and translating it through powerful digital processes in ways that improve transparency, help deliver tangible cost benefits and allow all stakeholders in the employee benefits chain to manage and price risks more diligently,” he added.