SSA employees prefer healthcare benefits over others in their benefits package

09 July 2018

Healthcare is a major priority amongst employees in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), according to new analysis from global risk advisory firm Willis Towers Watson. As per the firm’s research, 85% of the employees in the region value healthcare benefits from their companies more than others – such as bonuses and retirement benefits. 

Africa’s population has the youngest median age in the world, which might be a probable cause for the poor condition of financial planning amongst individuals in a number of countries across the continent, given that most do not have imminent retirement plans of age-related health issues to contend with.

Nevertheless, new research from Willis Towers Watson has revealed that this attitude is undergoing a significant shift, at least towards health-related planning. Through a detailed survey conducted across SSA, the consulting firm hoped to obtain an overview of the perception around employee benefits in the region, which could be leveraged by employers to improve the work environment.

Specifically, the research is aimed at helping employers better align with employees’ needs in the most cost-effective way possible. The report also offers insight into the potential challenges that firms are likely to face in the near future regarding employee benefits, and the key drivers that should influence the design of a benefit programme.

Priorities in employee benefit packages

According to the research, 85% of the employees across SSA value healthcare benefits the most in their company’s benefits programme, while 73% say that other healthcare benefits are important as well. Life insurance/accidental death insurance is also important for more than half of the respondents, at 65%.

Retirement benefits were of particular importance to 54% of the respondents, while 51% also value other allowances that are included in a benefits package. Correspondingly, the firm observed an increased awareness amongst employers to ramp up their health offerings in the benefits package.

Between 34% and 41% of employers, for instance, have plans to include chronic disease management in their programme over the next three years, which is of particular importance in a number of African countries that are particularly affected by virus-based diseases.

One global trend that firms have picked up on is the recognition of the importance of mental health and well-being. Between 33% and 43% of employers in the region have plans to introduce behavioural and emotional health management into their programmes over the next three-year period.

Other plans to bolster benefits packages include fitness-based benefits and lifestyle & risk management support from employers. Based on these initiatives nearly 70% of the firms in the region believe that their benefits package is sufficient in retaining employees, and might even attract talent, although 30% are not even aware of their spending on benefits. 

Mercer and Alexander Forbes launch Arrive financial services programme in Kenya

05 April 2019

Pan-African financial advisory firm Alexander Forbes has entered into a partnership with global health and wealth management consultancy Mercer to develop a financial solutions programme by the name of “Arrive” for individuals in Kenya as well as across the entire continent.

While foreign investment has been on the rise in Africa – given that the region boasts a substantial and young population and a number of resource-rich economies that are looking to diversify – a number of firms have struggled with developing products and solutions that are suitable across the wide variety of economies and cultures on the continent.

Several consulting firms have rushed in to support with this integration process, and the Arrive programme is designed with precisely such an objective in mind. The programme – to be developed jointly by Alexander Forbes and Mercer – is designed to help international firms with tailoring solutions across African markets.

Mercer and Alexander Forbes launch Arrive financial services programme in Kenya

The solution will take into consideration the various regulatory and economic conditions of each country, while endowing its services with knowledge from international best practices in the domain of health, wealth and career management. The collaboration comes at a time when firms across Africa are struggling with digital and regulatory disruption.

Mercer has come to be increasingly active in supporting this transition across the continent, through a number of collaborations. Just earlier this year, the firm announced a strategic partnership with Learning Organisation in Ghana to offer comprehensive HR solutions in the country.

Commenting on the partnership, Peter Botha, CEO of Mercer Africa said, “With Arrive employers can enjoy improved efficiency, easy decision-making and affordability from a single point of contact while enabling employees to arrive at financial well-being, a rewarding career and better health throughout their life journey.”

Dawie de Villiers, Group Chief Executive at Alexander Forbes added, “Because each country has its own regulatory and benefit rules, it makes it difficult for multinationals to standardise benefits when operating in multiple jurisdictions and countries.”