over half of graduates who will apply for jobs in banking sector have experienced mental health issues

City Mental Health Alliance (CMHA), an alliance of City businesses aiming to create mentally healthy workplaces, have revealed statistics about the mental health of students and graduates planning to apply for a job within the banking industry in the UK.

In a survey of students and graduates looking to join the banking sector, 63 per cent described themselves as having experienced mental health issues. Respondents said they had lived with a range of issues, with almost half (48 per cent) saying they had experienced anxiety, 43 per cent depression and a further 27 per cent stating they had experienced panic attacks. Fifteen per cent of respondents said they have self-harmed.

The data goes on to show that 61 per cent of these individuals are worried about the stigma still associated with mental health and believe that telling a prospective employer about a past or current issue would hinder their chances of securing a role.

Only 37 per cent said they would feel comfortable discussing mental health issues with their manager, whereas more than double (75 per cent) would be comfortable talking about physical health issues (such as flu, diabetes and back pain). Over half (53 per cent) of respondents who took a day off for a mental health issue would prefer to cite physical illness as the reason for the absence instead. Meanwhile, 40 per cent say they would try to avoid ever disclosing to their employer that they were experiencing poor mental health.

However, the survey also found that 81 per cent of those planning a career in banking are more likely to apply to an employer who is open about their commitment to mental health, whilst a further 84 per cent said that their prospective employer’s policy was important to them. Despite this, 76 per cent of respondents said that they didn’t have any information about the mental health or wellbeing support from prospective employers.

Poppy Jaman OBE, CEO of City Mental Health Alliance comments,

It’s important for employers to realise the vital role they can play in helping new joiners feel safe, comfortable and supported at a huge milestone in their lives. Providing mental health support for new joiners as they transition into the workplace needs to be a priority in firms across the UK. Our survey highlights that much more needs to be done to foster an environment where employees feel able to talk openly about their mental health issues from day one. Making mental health matter will not only ensure new graduates feel able to discuss these topics, but it will also help them to build the skills they need to be mental health literate leaders going forward.

Fiona Cannon, Responsible Business, Sustainability and Inclusion Director at Lloyds Banking Group comments,

These results highlight that those planning a career in banking still feel there is a risk when it comes to talking about their mental health in the workplace. At Lloyds, we believe employers have a crucial role in increasing understanding of mental health and creating a culture of openness. We all have mental health, just as we have physical health. We have been working hard to help normalise conversations around the issue and believe ending the culture of silence will mean we can offer the right support to the people around us who need it.

Interested in mental health in the workplace? We recommend the Mental Health Awareness training day and Workplace Wellbeing and Stress Forum.