New research: financial wellbeing in the workplace

Recently published research into employees’ financial wellbeing by Salary Finance highlights organisations’ key role in allaying their workers’ money worries

The Employer’s Guide to Financial Wellbeing 2019-20 is the leading comprehensive survey for employers to truly understand their people’s financial wellbeing. This second annual survey of UK employees has confirmed some of the stark results revealed last year:

People are more worried about money than any other area of life

36 per cent of UK employees are worrying about money. People are more worried about money than their career (26 per cent), health (23 per cent) or relationships (19 per cent).

Absenteeism, productivity and retention are all impacted

30 days are lost every month per 1,000 employees due to absenteeism. Those that are stressed are losing 10 working days a year in productivity and are 1.5 times more likely to be looking for a new job. This is not good news for employers – poor financial wellbeing is costing UK business between 9 13 per cent of payroll.

Financial wellbeing significantly impacts mental health

Those that are worrying about money are much more likely to have a mental health problem related to anxiety (4.1 times more likely) and/or depression (4.6 times more likely). An organisation that has a mental wellbeing strategy without a financial one alongside it is effectively driving along with their foot on the accelerator and the brake pedal simultaneously.

Money worries are not all about pay

The highest level of financial worries is with low earners, and generally as income goes up, money worries go down. However, almost one-third of those earning between £40-60k still have money worries. Also perhaps surprisingly, those that earn over £100k per annum have the same level of financial worries as those that earn less than £10k.

It’s not about what you know, it’s about what you do

People’s understanding and ability to set budgets is very similar – less than 5 per cent of people with poor financial wellbeing don’t know how to budget. It’s not the setting of a budget that is the issue, it’s sticking to it. People generally fall into two categories – ‘planners’ who find it easy to save first and spend later, and ‘copers’ who tend to spend first and save later.

People are not open about money

Generally, people are not talking to anyone apart from their partner about their personal finances. However, for those with poor financial wellbeing, this drops considerably: less than half of them are talking to their partner or family about financial matters.

There is a disconnect between what employers are offering and what employees need

Pensions are currently the most well-recognised financial benefit among employees. However, those with the lowest financial wellbeing value getting out of debt and getting better at saving above everything else. They know what they need to do but are stuck in a cycle of high-interest loans, credit card debts and missed payments.

Employees trust their employer

Both those with both high and low levels of financial wellbeing trust their employer and believe they care about their wellbeing. This presents a powerful role for employers – they are in a privileged position to help their people improve their financial wellbeing.

You can read the rest of the research, and find out the six steps to implementing a successful financial wellbeing strategy, by downloading a copy of The Employer’s Guide to Financial Wellbeing 2019-20.