Financial pressures are mounting and yet UK employers are failing to offer staff sufficient financial support in the workplace
A quarter of the UK workforce in a financially insecure situation, where a lack of savings or growing debt could mean that any unexpected cost could be financially and mentally crippling. Nearly 1.7 million people in the UK have less than £100 in savings, and eight million are over-indebted. This is taking its toll on both mental health and performance at work.
In fact, research carried out by the CIP and Close Brothers found that financial concerns affected the performance of 25% of employees – which increased to 30% among public sector workers.
Despite this 67% if organisations do not offer any form of financial guidance, according to research from Thomsons Online Benefits. The study also found more than three-quarters of employers do not offer workplace ISAs or debt consolidation. A further 70% do not offer debt counselling and 79% don’t offer mortgage broking.
There are a few factors that are preventing employers from actively supporting their staff with their finances, with one in four (22%) expressing their concern over the risk of getting too involved with the financial lives of their staff. 20% also believe that it isn’t their responsibility and 24% are more concerned about the cost of getting involved.
“This years’ research paints a mixed picture,” comments David Dodd, Consulting Director at Thomsons Online Benefits. “Employers are making clear strides when it comes to caring for the physical health of their employees. However, the gap in financial and mental health support means that they’re failing to deliver a holistic wellbeing strategy. At a time when employees are struggling financially, and the top talent is in higher demand than ever, it’s paramount employers work to help employees with their financial health, or risk losing them to competitors.”
While these points may be valid, not taking any action will be to the detriment of the company as employees tend to bring their financial stresses with them to work which can negatively affect their productivity or increase absenteeism.
While only 10% of UK employers currently have a financial wellness strategy in place, there is hope this will change in the near future. In fact, the study found 50% of businesses plan to implement financial education. The study also found that tech-enabled employers are more likely to implement financial wellness schemes (15% vs 9%).