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Employees should take responsibility for their own financial education 

Sean McSweeney
2019

Research by Chase de Vere, the independent financial and corporate advisers, in conjunction with Lightbulb, an independent research company, shows that an increasing number of employers believe that their employees should be responsible for their own financial education. Contributor Sean McSweeney, Corporate Advice Manager, Chase de Vere

The Research consisted of making around 10,000 phone calls to employers which are representative of the UK company population and then conducting in-depth interviews with senior HR decision makers in 300 randomly selected businesses, ranging from 30 to 38,000 employees, to capture their attitude and current perspective on benefit provision. This research, conducted in 2018, follows similar research conducted in 2016 and 2017.

We asked: Who has the main responsibility to provide financial education for your employees?

Who has the main responsibility?

2018

2017

2016

The Government

24 percent

35 percent

65 percent

The employee

42 percent

29 percent

4 percent

The employer

13 percent

20 percent

14 percent

Pension provider

13 percent

9 percent

14 percent

Financial adviser

8 percent

7 percent

3 percent

There has been a distinct change in attitude amongst employers in the past couple of years.

In 2016, 65 percent of employers believed that the Government was responsible for the financial education of their employees, while only 4 percent thought the responsibility rested with the employees themselves. This view started to reverse last year and this year the results are even more pronounced, with 42 percent believing employees are responsible against only 24 percent who said it is the Government.

We’re not seeing an increase in the number of employers who believe they should assume responsibility for the financial wellbeing of their employees. We then asked: What prevents you from offering pre-retirement financial guidance for your employees?

What prevents you from offering pre-retirement financial guidance?

2018

Cost

34 percent

No employee appetite

32 percent

Don’t know

16 percent

Don’t know what is available

15 percent

Don’t understand the value

3 percent

The two major reasons given by employers for not providing guidance to their employees were the cost and that they saw no employee appetite. Sean McSweeney, Corporate Advice Manager, Chase de Vere, says: “It is fascinating and worrying to see the change in employers’ attitudes. In 2016, most of them thought the Government should be responsible for providing financial education to their employees, with only 4 percent believing that employees have this responsibility themselves.

“However, the current message from employers now seems loud and clear – employees cannot rely on anybody else to look after their financial futures, they are on their own. This is disappointing, especially as many employers are ideally placed to provide help and support for their employees.

“There are lots of different workplace education and advice services available which employers could provide, at different cost levels and, in our experience in providing financial education services, employees are very engaged and find them to be of real value.

“Not helping employees could also prove a false economy, in that employers could then be faced with an ageing workforce that is ill-prepared and cannot afford to retire. As a result, the business could potentially suffer from low productivity, succession planning issues and losing younger talent to competitors that provide more opportunity for advancement.”


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