The financial shocks of the pandemic may begin to recede, but workers still face an overwhelming amount of financial stress. Against the backdrop of economic uncertainty and inflation, more employees are focused on bolstering their immediate financial security to weather any potential challenges ahead.
So what can employers do to support their workers to set them up for short and long-term financial success?
SoFi at Work partnered with CITE Research to answer this and other questions, surveying 750 HR leaders and 750 full-time employees in the U.S. across a wide range of industries and roles. We asked for their perspectives on what employees need, and how companies can leverage benefits to attract and retain talent. The result is The Future of Workplace Financial Well-Being 2024: Employee and Employer Perspectives.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most important findings.
Top Employee Concerns
An astounding 86% of employees say they feel increasingly stressed about their finances, up more than 10% from our previous report. Here are some of the major issues impacting employee financial wellness.
Nearly two out of three workers feel unprepared to handle a major unexpected expense, such as a car repair or replacing a broken appliance (up 14%), and almost 40% are stressed about not having enough money for a major life expense, like buying a car or paying for a wedding.
Building an emergency savings fund is a top priority for 47% of employees, nearly doubled since our previous report. Making progress toward paying off credit card debt, and saving for a personal expense are also top priorities for 40% of respondents, representing a 13% jump since our last report.
Paying off student loans is a source of stress for nearly one in five employees. It also stands in the way of building a retirement nest egg: 78% of employees who are still paying down student loans say they can’t contribute as much to their retirement savings as they would like because of their debt obligations.
Delayed Health Care
One of the more surprising findings in this year’s survey: Almost 30% of workers have put off medical procedures and healthcare needs over the past year because of their current financial situation. That’s more than double the number who reported this behavior in our previous research, making delayed medical care a genuine and growing concern for employers. On top of that, financial stress can negatively affect physical and mental health, making matters worse.
What Employers Can Do
There is good news. HR professionals are in a better position than ever to help employees overcome financial challenges and improve overall financial wellness. Moreover, workers say they count on and trust their employers to help.
• More than 90% of workers are eager for their HR departments to start offering the newly government-approved benefit that allows employers to match employees’ student loan payments with contributions toward their retirement plan.
• A large portion of employees (43%) want an employer-sponsored emergency savings plan. But more than half of companies surveyed don’t offer one.
• Workers’ desire to improve financial literacy and knowledge has doubled since our last report, jumping to 35% from 17% previously. Employees also said they are likely to turn to HR leaders and their managers to find financial education resources.
Improving workers’ financial wellness is a critical need that employers are uniquely qualified to address through their benefit plans. For more on survey results and a three-step action plan for employers based on the data, download The Future of Workplace Financial Well-Being 2024: Employee and Employer Perspectives.
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