Soaring financial insecurity hitting productivity, research finds

Soaring anxiety over financial wellness is hitting the productivity of UK workers, with concerns over credit card debt, protection against debt and affordability of school fees increasing by more than 50 per cent in two years, new research has found.

money worriesMetLife’s UK Employee Benefits Trends Study 2017 shows acute increases in money worries amongst UK workers, with 42 per cent concerned about having too much debt on their credit card, up from 27 per cent when the same data set were polled two years ago.

Concern about having financial security for their family in the event of premature death has soared from 43 per cent to 57 per cent over the two-year period, while concern over loss of income due to disability is up from 47 per cent to 57 per cent.

The research has found that one in three employees are distracted at work by financial concerns, rising to 54 per cent among the under-30 age group.

The proportion of workers sometimes having trouble paying for outgoings has more than doubled over two years, from 18 per cent in 2015 to 38 per cent. Under-30s are even more likely to be feeling financial strain with 50 per cent saying they sometimes have trouble paying for outgoings. The number of employees living from payday to payday has risen from 24 per cent two years ago to 39 per cent today, rising to 50 per cent amongst under-30s.

The research shows 41 per cent of those funding children’s education are now concerned about affordability, compared to 24 per cent two years ago.

But the data also shows increasing appreciation of the value of benefits, with 38 per cent of employers ‘very satisfied’ with the impact of their benefits, compared to 21 per cent in the 2015 survey. The research shows 52 per cent of employers today understand the financial pressure on their employees, compared to 38 per cent who did two years ago.

The research shows interest amongst employers in financial counselling increasing from 42 to 53 per cent over the period, with interest in EAPs rising from 33 to 54 per cent.

MetLife UK employee benefits director Tom Gaynor says: “We know that less stressed employees are more productive and creative and the business case to improve employees’ financial wellness is more than just a simple act of benevolence.
“Done right it is an opportunity to help employees become more focused at work and more engaged with their employers. There is a clear link between employers feeling in control of their finances and engaged at work, which is a real opportunity to demonstrate the power of benefits in driving productivity.”