expat network

Covid-19 Impacts Expat Attitudes To Employer Benefits Package

employer benefits package


A study from Aetna International shows that expats in key global markets are becoming more attentive about the inclusions in their employer benefits package.  Over 9 in 10 (92%) survey respondents felt that having an employer benefits package was more important now than pre-pandemic. Over a third of expats (36%) admitted valuing their benefits package more as a direct result of needing to use it during the Covid-19 pandemic.



Furthermore, expats want to be confident that cover for Covid-19 related illnesses are included in their employer health care package. And almost a quarter (23%) of respondents claim that this cover is the most important inclusion.


Damian Lenihan, Executive Director Operations & Distribution Europe, Aetna International commented:

 “Covid-19 has had a notable influence on people’s attitudes towards health care packages and their intrinsic value. Now might be an opportunity for employers to review their offer to ensure it meets the expectations of expat talent in a changed environment in time for when more international business hubs open-up to travellers,”

With greater workplace flexibility and emphasis on healthy lifestyles, 52% of expats surveyed felt that having more personalised benefits was more important to them than before. And an overwhelming 88% said they wanted the option to pick their inclusions, suggesting a desire for employment benefits to be more adaptable.

Counselling, fitness sessions, specialist massage therapy and life coaching proved the most popular* add-ons respondents wanted the option to include as part of their personalised benefits. Likely given the cost, expats even claimed they might take a reduced salary to offset the expense if they were included in benefits packages.

Lenihan added:

“For expats, the pandemic put into perspective the importance of individual health care and encouraged people to evaluate their personal situations. Personalisation is a growing trend, especially as populations become increasingly more diverse and international employers are looking to create more inclusive environments. Greater choice and the ability to tailor health care options and well-being benefits might need to be considered in future to better manage the needs of differing individuals.”

To see the full findings of this survey and to find out more, head to: https://www.aetnainternational.com/en/about-us/explore/future-health/expats-want-more-choice-benefits.html

These findings were sourced from a survey of 1,000 expats living in UK, USA, UAE, Singapore and Hong Kong from 1 – 8 September 2021.

*The top five ranked from survey respondents when asked to choose from a selection of well-being add-ons based on the question: If you have or were to have a health care benefits package, which of the following personalised well-being add-ons would you be willing to accept a lower salary to have included in your health benefits package?