- After several years of trending in a positive direction, employees' financial well-being has taken a downturn, according to a Willis Towers Watson biennial survey. The results showed a sizable increase in the number of workers who said their financial problems were negatively affecting their lives (34% up from 21% in 2015) and left them worried about the future (59% up from 49% two years ago).
- The number of workers who said they were satisfied with their financial well-being had grown steadily since 2009. But the 2017 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey showed a significant drop in that number to barely one-third, compared to nearly half (48%) two years ago.
- Worsening financial well-being is impeding workers' productivity, health and engagement, especially for “struggling” employees (the 30% of respondents who said they were worried about their short- and long-term finances). Among this group, 31% said money worries left them unable to do their best work; 37% had high levels of stress; and only 29% were fully engaged at work.
A increasing number of employees with financial worries, after years of a positive trend, suggests that employees are getting left behind as the economy recovers.
With more stress over money problems for workers, and the health and productivity losses that come with it, employers may want to address the issue with financial education. Financial well-being programs can help workers learn to better manage their money.
And in terms of benefits, employers can offer improved 401k contributions or student-debt repayment programs. Many employees enter the workforce with hundreds of thousands of dollars in education debt. On the other end of the spectrum, offering older workers phased retirement can allow those who can't retire on their current wages to remain in the workplace part time to increase their earnings and prevent some institutional brain drain.