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Staff financial wellbeing low on employers’ agenda

Bosses think financial problems are affecting employees' productivity

UK employers are overlooking staff financial wellbeing, according to the latest Close Brothers Asset Management Business Barometer.

The research, which comes from a survey of almost 900 employers across the UK, found that just under half (48%) do not have a staff wellbeing strategy in place at all. Just 35% have one in place already, while a further 16% plan to or are currently progressing one.

However, even among employers with wellbeing strategies employees’ financial wellbeing is being overlooked. Only a quarter (23%) have considered specifically addressing financial wellbeing. This means that despite the growing importance of the subject, 54% of all businesses with wellbeing strategies do not have financial wellbeing provision for their employees in place.

When it comes to implementing financial wellbeing, the approach is mixed. 49% of those who have a strategy in place address it via their financial education programme, 22% involve a financial adviser and the remaining 29% provide only debt-counselling service and an employee assistance programme, directing their financial wellbeing strategy solely to the one element – debt management.

Jeanette Makings, Head of Financial Education at CBAM, comments: “Employers play a central role in ensuring staff are well informed about how to make the most of their workplace benefits and financial options, so it is disappointing to see that financial wellbeing is not being incorporated in more company strategies.

“Financial wellbeing is becoming even more important with the rise of defined contribution pensions, increasing longevity and the increased responsibility this places on all individuals to plan for their finances today and for their future. It needs to be a key focus for organisations who want to make a difference to their employees and to their overall business, helping growth and retention over the long term.”

The likelihood of considering financial wellbeing varies widely across industry sectors. Manufacturing comes out on top, with 44% offering a staff wellbeing strategy, in comparison with just 29% of recruitment and 29% of construction companies.