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Employees feel abandoned by lack of employer support

by LLB Finance Reporter
20th Feb 24 9:35 am

More than half of UK employees (51 per cent) are embarrassed about their level of financial literacy, according to a new survey by leading employee benefits and engagement partner, Pluxee UK.

In the midst of rising living costs, the current UK workplace has overlooked the crucial necessity of providing employees with essential financial education. Consequently, workers grapple with financial challenges, impacting both their health and accumulating debt.

The research finds that only 46 per cent of HR professionals actively promote a culture of financial openness, with a mere 16% of employees actually feeling this support at work.

This significant gap underscores the challenge in creating supportive workplace environments for financial discussions, with nearly half (48 per cent) of surveyed employees stating that their employer does not offer any financial wellbeing support.

This lack of financial support, coupled with the stigma surrounding money issues, hinders employees from seeking help. To cultivate a supportive workplace, businesses must not only bridge this gap but also address the discomfort associated with discussing financial challenges.

The impact of this financial unease is reflected in the anxiety experienced by the UK workforce, with three-quarters (75 per cent) worrying about money at least monthly or more often, and over a quarter (26 per cent) dealing with daily concerns. The survey also reveals a reliance on friends/family (43 per cent) and search engines (29 per cent) for financial education, while only 12 per cent turn to their employers for advice.

Amidst this financial unease, the survey highlights around 2 in 5 (41 per cent) employees surveyed are currently in debt— of those who are in debt, a fifth (20 per cent) say it’s not manageable.

Recognising the need for change, HR professionals acknowledge their role in supporting employees. Three-quarters (75 per cent) believe they need to do more to enhance financial wellbeing, with 84 per cent stating that the current cost of living crisis has heightened the importance of supporting their workforce’s financial wellbeing.

This acknowledgment stems from increased demand, as 68 per cent of HR professionals report a surge in requests for financial education or support initiatives in the past year. On average, almost a fifth (19 per cent) of their current workforce proactively approached them seeking financial wellbeing support. Overall, it’s clear that current support is not enough to meet the demand.

Employers are also recognising the tangible impact of poor financial wellbeing on their teams. Over half (53 per cent) of HR professionals have witnessed negative effects on employees, including increased stress (66 per cent), decreased productivity due to distraction (62 per cent), lowered confidence (39 per cent), and an increased likelihood of taking sick leave (35 per cent).

Burcin Ressamoglu, CEO at Pluxee UK, stressed the urgency of breaking the silence surrounding financial literacy at work, “We’ve seen from the research that many individuals have entered the workforce with limited financial knowledge.

“Employers play a big role in helping with financial smarts and overall wellbeing by promoting financial openness and offering guidance, as well as access to relevant resources.

“Taking care of their people’s financial wellbeing is just as important as their overall health for a happy and engaged workforce.”

Ressamoglu added, “As leaders, we must educate and empower our workforce by building a culture of financial knowledge and offering tangible support where we can through workplace benefits and initiatives.

“Let’s make financial literacy a shared conversation and responsibility.”

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