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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

One in three employees distracted by financial worries

Rising uncertainty is fuelling financial security worries and damaging job performance, according to MetLife’s latest UK Employee Benefits Trends Study 2017.

Around 60% of employees are worried about job security ©iStock
Around 60% of employees are worried about job security ©iStock

The research shows that one in three employees are distracted at work due to these money worries, with the number rising to 54% among those aged under 30, raising health and productivity concerns.

In addition, almost a third of people have had to take time off to handle financial issues in the past year, approximately 60% of employees are worried about job security, and 57% are concerned about family financial security.

MetLife UK employee benefits director, Tom Gaynor, said: “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’s an opportunity to help employees become more focused at work and more engaged with their employers. There is a clear link between employees feeling in control of their finances and being engaged at work, which is a real opportunity to demonstrate the power of benefits in driving productivity.”

The study also found that the challenges of meeting day-to-day financial obligations are becoming harder, with 39% of workers saying they are living from payday to payday, compared with 24% in 2015.

There has been success for employers implementing physical wellness programmes, with 35% of firms having now introduced schemes, and 87% of employees who have used the programmes saying it helped them improve their health.

However MetLife is urging employers to use the power of their employee benefits further, by expanding their focus to give financial wellness the same prominence in the workplace.

They recommend they do this through building on existing programmes to include flexible working conditions, a good work-life balance, stress management schemes, and financial counselling.

“Employee benefits can help employers build stronger businesses as well as provide real value to the employees that work for them. Employees will choose to stay with companies that help them to manage their lives better,” Gaynor added.