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Third of employees have no more than a month’s savings

Heidi Allan
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Over half of Britain’s workforce (55 percent) want employers to help with financial planning, new research from Neyber has found. Younger staff in particular are keen to get more support from the businesses they work for. Contributor Heidi Allan, Head of Employee wellbeing – Neyber.

Over 72 percent of 18-34 year olds said they would value financial planning information and help. By contrast, just 25 percent of those who were 65 and older wanted help. The study, Neyber’s DNA of Financial Wellbeing, was carried out among 10,000 UK employees and 500 employers.

Heidi Allan, head of employee wellbeing at Neyber, said: “In the past, many businesses have been reluctant to get involved with financial education for employees – due to concerns this could be seen as intrusive or unwelcome. What our research clearly shows is that most people want more help. Employers need to stop thinking of employees’ finances as a taboo subject and look at new ways to guide them – whether that’s providing information, education, or products and services which help staff manage their finances.”

Helping employees better manage their finances is a win-win for businesses. When employees worry about money it can lead to stress, mental health issues and extended absences from work. In fact, financial stress costs UK businesses £120.7 billion ever year.

And workers’ financial situations are more precarious than ever. Over a third (34 percent) of employees have less than a month’s salary set aside. Of those – 14 percent have no savings whatsoever. Nearly one in five (18 percent) are not saving any of their monthly salary.

Allan said: “With so little money to fall back on, something as simple as a car repair could leave employees struggling to cope. The savings shortfall means that many people in the UK would be unable to cope with an unexpected income shock, such as divorce, bereavement, redundancy or illness.”

“Businesses must support their staff and help them on the savings journey, or risk a workforce that suffers from financial stress, leading to high levels of absences and lower productivity. It’s not just the right thing to help employees manage their finances, it is critical for business success too.”

As well as providing support and education, businesses should consider offering benefits programmes which allow staff to manage their finances.

Only 4 percent of people are currently saving in a workplace ISA. The same percentage use an employer-sponsored savings account. But 39 percent of those surveyed said that they would value savings benefits if they were provided.

In fact, financial benefits are among those most valued by employees. The most valuable benefit to provide is a pension (72 percent) and almost half (47 percent) said they value insurance policies. Support and guidance (47 percent), share plans (38 percent) and financial education (36 percent) were also welcome. By contrast, just 34 percent valued the ability to buy or sell holiday and only 28 percent appreciated childcare support.

Allan concluded: “As the primary source of income, employers are in a great position to reinforce the importance of regular saving, through financial education and providing support to help employees choose the right products for their needs.

“Clear communication and easy access to financial education and products play a huge part in achieving engagement. This allows employees to make smart, well informed decisions about what is right for them and their loved ones.”

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