The cost-of-living crisis has been challenging for many – yet only around a third (36%) of employees say the organisation they work for has initiatives in place to support their financial wellbeing.
Workers earning lower incomes were less likely to say their employer had financial wellbeing support available, the new survey by Mintago also found.
Only around a quarter (26%) of workers earning less than £30,000 say their employer is offering meaningful financial wellbeing support, according the research – which polled more than 1,300 people in full or part-time work in April.
Around two-fifths of the survey respondents described themselves as either “very stressed” (9%) or “somewhat stressed” (30%) at present – and nearly two-thirds (62%) of these said increasing living costs are a contributing factor, rising to 69% among those earning less than £30,000.
Chieu Cao, CEO of Mintago, says: “Regardless of industry or income level, it is vital that employers step up and deliver robust, complete, and impactful financial wellbeing support. It must fit the unique needs of each individual member of staff – businesses cannot take a tick-box approach.
“As the cost-of-living rises, businesses – more than ever – have a responsibility to provide their staff with financial wellbeing support.”
If employees feel unsupported, Cao says: “It’s important that they ask their managers or HR department about the initiatives or resources that might be available to them; indeed, doing so could greatly improve their financial wellbeing.”
Here are some suggestions from Cao for questions people can ask their employer about the financial wellbeing support they have available…
1. Does the company offer options for taking independent financial advice?
Cao says: “Asking whether there are independent financial advisers available to staff could significantly improve workers’ financial situation, as they will be able to help individuals plan their financial lives more effectively and navigate the cost-of-living crisis with greater confidence.”
2. Does the firm have other resources available that could help me plan my finances?
“Employees could ask their employer to provide educational materials about how to better plan and manage their finances,” suggests Cao. “This could help workers to improve their financial literacy, thus allowing them to better deal with short-term financial difficulties like the cost-of-living crisis, as well as manage their long-term financial obligations.”
Some firms may also offer particular schemes which could help employees planning to make certain significant purchases, such as season ticket loans or cycle-to-work schemes. They may also have discounts arranged with local businesses, such as gyms, for example.3. Can you tell me more about your pension scheme?
“Asking for further information about their company’s pension scheme could reveal some features to employees that they might not have been aware of when they first started contributing,” says Cao.
“For instance, a company’s financial wellbeing support benefit may have a dashboard that helps individuals track down their lost or former pension pots, allowing them to access funds that they were previously unaware of. If they are nearing retirement, such a feature in particular could help secure their financial future.”
Mintago’s research found that more than two-fifths (44%) of employees would leave their current job for an employer that provides better financial wellbeing support.
Further research points to salaries – and consistent pay increases – having a central part to play in employees’ sense of wellbeing.
The research, from recruitment business Reed, indicated that the most attractive benefit when looking for a new job is an annual salary increase. This was followed by a four-day working week and flexitime.
Cao adds: “By asking about the different support measures available to them, employees might find mechanisms in place that could greatly improve their financial wellbeing.
“In truth, however, it’s up to employers to ensure that all support is clearly signposted if they are to truly assist their employees during the cost-of-living crisis and beyond.”