Two in three small and medium enterprise owners are concerned that they do not offer their employees the same benefits that large corporations do.

This is according to a recent study by insurance firm MetLife UK, which asked 508 senior decision makers at SMEs employing between 50 and 299 staff across the nation.

Results showed that 63% of the bosses worry their staff miss out compared with bigger companies, and senior managers at larger SMEs were the most likely to worry about the lack of benefits available to their workers.

The research also showed that bosses recognise the value of benefits – 69% said they believe they have a duty to offer additional benefits on top of pensions to their staff.

One in ten bosses said that they were unable to provide benefits beyond workplace pensions, citing lack of budget as the biggest reason for this, followed by not believing their company is big enough.

Adrian Matthews, Employee Benefits Director at MetLife UK, said: “SMEs are very much focused on retaining and recruiting staff, and recognise the significant role that benefits, in addition to salaries, can play. It is interesting that they believe they have a duty to offer staff more.

“The issue of the protection gap between SME staff and employees at larger corporates is, however, a concern for substantial numbers of senior managers who see the life insurance and income protection that major employers offer and wonder how they can compete.”