Press Release – Cologne, January 31, 2019

Employees Surrender More Than 10% of Their Salary for Fringe Benefits

  • Surrender of part of salary for convenient fringe benefits
  • The more valuable the benefits, the greater employee retention
  • Kienbaum Benefits Forum for HR managers

Cologne, January 31, 2019

How much of their salary would your employees estimate they would be prepared to surrender if only the right fringe benefit were on offer? This question, aimed at HR managers, forms the core of the current Kienbaum Benefits Survey. A corresponding question, “And what are you actually willing to give up?”, was also asked of more than 11,000 employees by our partner, employer rating platform kununu. Study leaders presented the results of their surveys at the second Kienbaum Benefits Forum in Cologne in January.

Must-have or nice-to-have?

According to the employers, employees were willing to see around 10.16% less on their pay slip, provided that the fringe benefits on offer were tailored to the individual needs of the recipient. If a fully customized offer were available, the figure rises to 11.3%, according to employees. “The benefits offer can be a real USP if it is flexibly adapted to the needs of employees and relates somehow to the employer brand,” explains Matthias Kopiske, Senior Consultant at HR and management consultancy Kienbaum. “The companies surveyed were quite convinced of the difference that certain benefits could make, especially those relating to family. The most attractive individual benefit was childcare support, with 22% of companies naming it as a USP,” he adds.

“We distinguish between must-haves, or those benefits that employees consider matter of course, and nice-to-haves. These are valuable benefits that match the employee perfectly,” adds Johannes Prüller, Director of Global Communications & Brand at kununu. Must-haves include free snacks and a company mobile phone. “Employees consider things such as flexible working hours, a home office, and company pension schemes as particularly attractive benefits to have. Employees who are free to choose from benefits like these are even prepared to surrender hard cash,” reports Prüller. Offering fringe benefits is, therefore, something that employers do both to recruit employees and to retain top talent that they have already managed to recruit.

The Kienbaum Benefits Forum: From company medical care to dance classes

The Kienbaum Benefits Forum 2019, the second of its kind, took place in Cologne in January involving HR managers from across Germany. “I’m pleased to see that interest is strong and topics like strategies for employee recruitment and retention are frequently discussed. Anyone who takes the time to analyze what helps to simplify the lives of top talent will have a valuable asset at their fingertips,” reports Matthias Kopiske. With insights into the structures of incentives at Henkel and Vodafone, participants at the Forum had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with things such as insurance packages exclusively for their employees, or flexible and carefully tailored portfolios. Medium-sized enterprises such as Biologische Heilmittel Heel are also able to score top marks with fringe benefits such as their own child daycare center or special leisure and recreational opportunities, provided that such benefits are tailored to the actual needs of employees. Participants also took part in mini-workshops to learn how to best implement the ideas from a legal, technical, and practical perspective.

The Kienbaum Benefits Survey 2018 can now be obtained online in the Kienbaum-Shop. More information on compensation issues can be found on

The Kienbaum Compensation Portal online application offers exclusive 24/7 access to Kienbaum compensation data of the highest standards of quality. This includes access to the Board Remuneration Analyser, an online tool for analysis of board compensation (in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and other European countries), with individual selection by criteria including company name, industry, and company size. Please note: your data are secure with us; the Compensation Portal is the only TÜV-certified online database of compensation data in Germany.


Saskia Leininger – T.: +49 221 801 72-490 | E-Mail:

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