We all want to have fully engaged employees, but recent research by Neyber has shown that UK employees’ biggest concern might not be what you expected. For the third year in a row, The DNA of Financial Wellbeing research has found that financial worries tops the list of employee concerns, with retirement and later life planning coming in a close second. That means two of the biggest concerns for employees relate to their finances.
Our research, which involved 11,000 employees and 750 employers, found that despite the importance of financial worries to employees, only a third think that their organisation is doing well at providing a supportive environment for their financial health.
Talking about money is still a huge taboo – we often feel like everyone has their finances sorted except for us. The lack of financial education when we grew up (and still even now) means as a nation we have picked up our money behaviours and attitudes from our parents, or from advertising.
The effects of these financial worries are pronounced. Across the UK workforce, one-third are feeling stressed, one-quarter are losing sleep and one in five feel depressed.
We often think about those with money worries as just being young, lower paid workers. As these graphs below show, many people in older age segments and higher income brackets are also affected.
% affected by money worries by age:
% affected by money worries by income:
Organisations themselves suffer if they don’t address these concerns. Around 1.5 million employees are taking time off work, and the average time taken each year was 2.5 days. Performance at work is also suffering because of financial stress, with nearly 3 million UK employees struggling to focus at work. Finally, more than 10% of people said they were looking for a new job because of financial worries.
These three factors – absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover due to financial worries – are costing UK employers approximately £15.2 billion. That’s £450k per 1,000 employees.
Employers need to address the number one concern of employees if they are serious about improving engagement. Employee financial wellbeing is about more than just pay. As the research shows, employers cannot directly link financial worries to age or income level – there are a range of needs among employees and the support offered needs to address this. For some employees, this will be about education and products to manage debt, while for others it will be about building a rainy-day buffer and preparing for future retirement, buying a house or investment. The ultimate goal is to ensure employees feel in control and confident about their future as well.
For further understanding on the financial needs of UK employees, download your free copy of the report here:
By Rebekah Gerry, Financial Wellbeing Lead at Neyber