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Most employees believe their employer doesn’t care about cost-of-living struggle

The findings reveal that the average employee feels they would need an extra £274 a month to make a meaningful difference and relieve the stress of rising costs. If this was to be replicated on a national scale, it would cost employers over £104 billion, illustrating the depth of the problem.

New insight* has found that employer led health and wellbeing benefits are becoming increasingly important when it comes to employee satisfaction and retaining talent.  However, some employers could be underestimating the impact and strain employees are currently under and how unsupported they feel.

The research amongst of full and part time workers across the UK* revealed that against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis, 9 in 10 (91%) say they are more likely to stay with an employer that offers health and wellbeing benefits, whilst 7 in 10 (70%) say the health and wellbeing support that a prospective employer offers is important.

While the majority of employees feel their employer does support their health and wellbeing, there are some stark differences when it comes to gender and earnings. Those on lower salaries seem to feel the least supported. Over 7 in 10 (77%) employees who earn under £25,000 a year said their employer supports them in this way, compared to 93% of employees who earn over £40,000 a year.  Meanwhile just 10% of male workers said their company does not support them with their health and wellbeing, this is compared to 18% of female workers who said the same.

Cost of living

There’s no denying that the cost of living crisis has impacted UK workers. They have endured rising costs on every front from food and utilities to rents and mortgages over recent years, with salaries required to stretch further and further.  Nearly 9 in 10 (84%) workers believe employers should support them with the increased cost of living in some way.  Worryingly the research indicates that just half of employees (50%) believe their employer cares about the impact it has on them.

This means half don’t believe their employer cares. Female employees are also less likely to agree that their employer cares about the impact of the cost of living crisis. Only 45% believe they do; this is compared to 55% of male employees. Whilst 40% of employees would tell their employer if they were struggling financially, females are less likely to do so, just 34% would, compared to 46% of male employees.

The findings reveal that the average employee feels they would need an extra £274 a month to make a meaningful difference and relieve the stress of rising costs. If this was to be replicated on a national scale, it would cost employers over £104 billion, illustrating the depth of the problem. While inflation may be on its way down, the impact of recent high levels is likely to be felt by employees for months or even years to come.

It is no surprise to see that employee concerns over their wellbeing has risen too. They have increased by 188% in recent years.  Almost a quarter 2(24%) of employees say they feel always/often exhausted at work, whilst 253% of employees have worked in their main job in the last three months despite not feeling well enough to do so, up from 246% in 2022. When you consider these findings, it is perhaps inevitable that the number of people leaving the workforce due to long-term sickness is at its highest since the 31990s

Paul Shires, Commercial Director at Health Shield Friendly Society, commented: “What we can see is that despite the rate of inflation falling employees are still feeling the everyday pressure of the cost of living crisis. This day to day worry is clearly having an impact. There are some positive signs but there are also concerns, especially amongst lower paid workers who clearly feel the least supported and probably have the most financial worries.

Too many employees feel their employer does not care or understand about what they are going through and understand the impact of these financial pressures. Employers should be helping their workforce be as mentally and physically healthy as possible. The results and impact speak for themselves, with so many employees saying how important a strong workplace health and wellbeing plan is to them and indeed how it keeps them working where they are.

In 2024 these things cannot be overlooked, employees don’t just want pay rises, they want healthcare plans that will look after them and their families in the long term and prevent minor aliments turning into serious issues. Employers who are yet to offer access to healthcare benefits, such as Health Cash Plans, should consider incorporating these benefits into their workplace to support their valued employees.”

*Health Shield Friendly Society

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