Irish workers want more financial education resources from their employers and believe receiving it as a wellbeing benefit can strengthen their commitment to their jobs, according to the ‘Can We Connect’ report, released recently by global financial wellbeing platform nudge Global.
Money greatly impacts personal happiness and mental wellbeing, with 72% of Irish workers currently feeling anxious about their finances. Four out of 10 are living paycheck to paycheck. These staggering figures are a result of the cost-of-living crisis, new warnings that energy bills could rise again in October, as well as rising inflation which nearly everyone (97%) is concerned about.
These issues have caused a noticeably concerning increase in the only 42% of workers who were anxious about their finances in nudge’s 2021 global survey. However, the report also found that employees who have financial education benefits suffer less from the money worries that so many of those surveyed experience, being 20% more likely to experience hope and contentment with their finances and 24% more likely to feel connected to their employer.
Over three quarters (78%) of respondents said that having diverse benefits, like financial education support, helps to build commitment to their employer. Yet, the research revealed over one-third (35%) of Irish workers surveyed don’t understand how their company-offered financial benefits work. High earners were 64% more likely to say that offering financial education benefits would be effective in increasing their commitment to their organisation.
Furthermore, young, high-earning employees — those aged 18 to 34 who earn £75,000 or more per year — felt significantly more connected to their employer when they received financial education benefits. Specifically, 66% felt connected to their employer, compared to just 43% of those who did not receive financial education benefits. Additionally, 35% of young, high-earning employees with access to financial education benefits trust their employers, compared to just 15% of those who do not receive financial education benefits.
“The employer/employee relationship can be a stabilising element in an unstable world,” said Jeremy Beament, nudge Global co-founder & director. “Companies can strengthen the connection by providing tools and resources to help employees achieve their financial goals. Finpowerment — the way employers can empower their people to feel confident and in control of their money through financial education — significantly contributes to overall wellbeing.”
When looking at the state of the country as a whole, three-fourths feel pessimistic about Ireland’s financial future. And due to the volatility of the last two years, 39% have decreased trust in financial institutions.
Furthermore, 38% of workers say the pandemic has made them increasingly uncertain about how best to plan financially for the future. This has given rise to over a third (39%) who want their employers to provide information on how to grow their retirement funds. Irish workers are interested in their employers providing guidance on how to invest in Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (44%), Retirement Annuity Contracts (41%), and mutual funds (31%).
Financial education support at key life moments can help to strengthen the employer-employee bond. Irish workers are most interested in financial education that helps them grow a savings account (38%), save for retirement (39%), and purchase a home (29%). Unsurprisingly, Gen Z respondents were most interested out of all age demographics in financial guidance and support in purchasing a home (47%), indicative of the current housing market.
Other key findings of the research include:
Differences in perspective: Women were much more likely than men to feel envious of others’ financial situations (81% versus 54%) and also more anxious than men about their current financial situation (73% versus 66%). Women have also received disproportionate economic harm during the pandemic, being twice as likely as men to lose their jobs and take on more child and family care responsibilities.
High concern around inflation: 97% of Irish workers are concerned about inflation impacting their day-to-day life and purchasing power, with 61% of those respondents being “very concerned.”
The tenuous tie between companies and their employees: 76% of workers believe that companies view workers as interchangeable and easily replaceable. 49% say they show up to work exclusively for the paycheck. However, over half (54%) of high earners said that their relationship with their employer goes beyond being purely transactional, compared to less than a third of low earners.
The desire for employer investment: Over a third (37%) of respondents whose employers do not offer financial education or financial management tools said they would utilise them if they were offered.
“The Great Resignation is happening because companies haven’t created long-lasting bonds with their people. Since money worries can significantly impact mental health, financial education is a gift that the employer can give to the employee that has a massive impact on their overall well-being,” explained Jeremy Beament.
To learn more and read the full report, visit here.