Which Benefits Do Employees Want to Help With Financial Stress?

Aug 14, 2019
| Michael Altiero

Employee wellness and wellbeing have become much more important goals for employers than in years past.

To help, many have explored new employee benefits that are geared towards various areas of wellness, such as physical and mental health.

But financial wellness is also top of mind for many workers today, and many are looking to their employers to help address it.

New research from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) sheds light on this growing trend and provides interesting data around the importance of financial wellness for both employers and employees.

The State of Financial Wellness in 2019

The 8th annual Employee Financial Wellness Survey by PwC was conducted in early January and was taken by 1,686 full-time employees 18 years of age and older.

To start the survey, respondents were asked to provide their own definition of financial wellness. Based on the responses, here is the result given by PwC: “Financial wellness means being stress free and achieving financial stability.”

Next, the survey asked workers to list what financial wellness meant to them. Here are the top results:
  • Not being stressed about my finances – 34%
  • Being debt free – 18%
  • Having enough savings to not be worried about unexpected expenses – 16%
  • Having financial freedom to make choices to enjoy life – 16%
  • Being able to meet my day-to-day/monthly expenses – 12%
  • Being able to retire when I want to – 4%

PwC also asked survey takers to name the factor that would most help achieve future financial goals. Both Millennials and Gen X listed “better job security” (31% and 25% respectively) while baby boomers chose “lower healthcare costs” and “rising stock market”.

Employee Benefits and Financial Wellness

The survey next explores employee benefits and their impact on financial wellness. A surprising result is that just 37% of employees said their compensation is keeping up with the rising cost of living.

And when looking at the three generations captured in the survey (Baby Boomers, Millennials, and Gen X), all of their responses to this question decreased compared to 2018, which is an alarming result for employers.

Meanwhile, 58% believe their employee benefit packages are competitive with other organizations. Given the important role benefits play today, this is something that all organizations should remain competitive with in order to attract and retain talent.

Next, the survey asked respondents to name the employee benefit they would most like to see added in the future. Here are the top 5 answers:
  • Financial wellness benefit with access to counselors – 27%
  • Student loan repayment benefit – 26%
  • Help understanding and using benefits – 17%
  • Identity theft and credit protection – 16%
  • Mobile access to benefits – 8%

When breaking these results down by generation, Millennials most want student loan repayment benefits (37%), Gen X wants financial wellness benefits with access to counselors (30%), and Baby Boomers also want financial wellness benefits with access to counselors (28%).

Lastly, just 24% of workers say that their company offers personal finance assistance, but around 71% of employees who are offered these services do use them.

Financial Stress Among Today’s Workers

In the 2018 report, 47% of survey takers said they find it stressful dealing with financial situations. This year, however, this number jumped up to 67%, the highest percentage in over 7 years.

And when asked to list their top causes of stress, finances and money was the overwhelming top cause (59%), with jobs (15%) and relationships (12%) the next highest.

And concerning for employers, 35% of employees said that financial issues have caused them to be distracted at work. This can cause performance issues that lead to lower productivity.

When it comes to student loans, which can be a leading cause of financial stress, the survey data shows that 49% of Millennials, 26% of Gen X, and 10% of baby boomers have student loans.

Financial Wellness is More Important (and In-Demand) Than Ever

The survey from PwC shows that employee financial stress is on the rise, leading to more workers seeking benefits that help address wellness and wellbeing.

Employees are increasingly turning to their employer to help with their wellness goals, and business owners can gain a competitive advantage with talent attraction and retention.

Offering benefits like student loan assistance, employee assistance programs (EAPs), retirement plans, identity theft protection, and others are option that even small employers can explore through the right HR solutions and partnerships.

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