According to a recent survey of more than 10,000 US employees by Salary Finance, a financial wellness platform provided through employers:
- Low levels of education are common for employees in financially-stressed industries. Only 29% of employees in the top five most financially stressed industries have completed a 4-year college degree or more. Employees in these industries are 11% less happy and 21% less financially fit on average.
- Higher education is not a prerequisite for low financial stress, but does impact happiness. The survey showed the majority (69%) of employees in pharmaceuticals, working as professionals, or in IT/software have completed a 4-year college degree or more. They are, on average, 16% more happy and 31% more financially fit. Less than half (48%) of employees in mining and defense have completed a 4-year college degree or more. Employees in these industries are 11% less happy and 30% more financially fit on average.
- Women fare better than men in some industries: Women in IT/software are 46% more financially fit than their male coworkers. In agriculture, women are 42% more financially fit than men.
- ...and worse in others. Women in administration are 27% less financially fit than men. In healthcare, women are 22% less financially fit than men.
As the cost of college continues to dramatically outpace the rate of inflation, every fall, parents and students wonder whether the high price tag is worth taking on debt in terms of future happiness and financial fitness in the workforce. The answer appears to be that education can buy happiness --to some extent-- but is not a prerequisite for financial fitness.
Top 5 Industries with the Most Financially-Stressed Employees:
Top 5 Industries with the Least Financially-Stressed Employees:
“Money worries have a huge impact on American employees’ happiness. Forty-eight percent of all Americans are under financial stress, but there are a lot of toxic stereotypes about who is in debt,” said Dan Macklin, US CEO, Salary Finance. “We explored the relationship between income, industry, and education, and found that money worries are not exclusive to uneducated people in low-skill jobs. Forty percent of people making $100,000 per year are financially unstable, and one in four employees living paycheck-to-paycheck makes over $160,000 per year.”
The survey also revealed that Americans worry about money more than their health, careers, or relationships. Stress from money worries has a significant impact on mental health; employees with money worries are eight times more likely to suffer from sleepless nights, three times more likely to suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and four times more likely to suffer from depression. They are also six times more likely not to be able to finish daily tasks and five times more likely to have poor relationships with colleagues and produce lower-quality work. This costs employers more than $500 billion per year in lost productivity.
“Positive employment data has created a falsely rosy picture of Americans’ financial fitness. The debt crisis in America extends much further than people are aware, with half of the population financially underwater,” added Macklin. “As the prospect of recession looms closer, employers need to take another look at their financial wellness benefit offerings to see if they’re truly meeting employees’ needs.”