Financial wellbeing is the most common worry among the workforce, with employees feeling disconnected from support within the workplace.

This is according to a recent report, State of Financial Wellbeing: Workplace Report 2022, by Wagestream. The report also highlights that almost 7 in 10 workers (68%) are hiding financially-driven mental health concerns from their employers, due to embarrassment and fear of being reprimanded.

Almost 24 percent worry about their financial wellbeing every day, a rise of 8 percent in a year.

This is despite a huge shift in employers putting financial wellbeing programs in place (93% up from 51%).

 

A perception gap

The report also shows a worrying disconnect between the support employees need and what their employers plan to provide.

For example, employers estimate that just 2 percent of their employees were concerned about their financial wellbeing on a daily basis. However, the report showed that, in fact, 24 percent worry daily about it. The report also showed that 57 percent worry about money at least once a week.

Clearly, employers are underestimating the degree to which worries concerning money are affecting their staff.

Also, the desire by employers to help is not being felt by employees. Over 91 percent of employers said they provide an environment supportive of financial health. However, only 52 percent of employees said their financial worries are being addressed at work.

 

Financial wellbeing strategies are needed

Author of the report and Insights Director at Wagestream, Jamie Lawrence, suggests financial wellbeing programs are the way forward. He says: “This year’s report finds that we are entering a new phase of financial wellbeing at work: almost every employer has now taken its first step on financial wellbeing, but many are failing to achieve true impact. It’s fantastic to see employers being so proactive in plugging the financial inclusion gap – now we hope they’ll take it a step further by building out financial wellbeing programmes that address the bespoke needs of their own workforces and the most urgent problems many face – like savings.”

Propositions, Insights and External Engagement Director, Sarah Porretta, stresses the importance of supporting workers financially, saying that “it’s now crucial that employers recognise this and introduce new measures to promote long-term financial wellbeing.”

Also, Head of Wellbeing at Retail Trust, Cliff Lee, adds: “Many people are struggling with their financial situation as a result of Covid-19. We have seen an increase in financial worries due to inflation rises, the cost of living going up, rising mortgage rates and eviction restrictions being lifted. All of which means in 2022 finances continue to play an outsized role in employees’ mental health.”

 

Rising cost of living

The Office for National Statistics reports that the rising cost of living is top of household concerns.

Almost three-quarters said their cost of living had risen, with 90 percent stating their paying more for food.

Commenting on the storm of factors contributing to financial stress for UK employees, Head of People at The White Company, Sam Westwood, says: “there is considerable business benefit that comes from happier, healthier employees.”

Addressing the financial worries of employees should be a top priority when navigating wellbeing strategies as we continue the transition post-pandemic.