Inflation Takes Toll on Employee Financial Stress, Productivity

According to PNC Bank’s inaugural survey about financial wellness in the workplace, the majority of employees are stressed about their finances. Across industries and demographics, seven in 10 employees said they experience stress related to their personal finances, and although they report feeling secure in their jobs, 63% of respondents are living paycheck to paycheck. Inflation is also a key factor contributing to employee stress, with 90% of those surveyed saying that they are being negatively affected by inflation and that their ability to set aside money for savings and cover basic necessities has been significantly impacted.

Employee financial stress also affects productivity at work. In addition to 87% of surveyed employees admitting to worrying about personal finances on the job, 43% said they believe this affects their work productivity, with employees reporting to spend more than 150 hours on average annually worrying about their finances. What’s more, 75% of employer respondents said their employees’ financial stress negatively affects business.

“It’s clear that both employers and employees are seeing and feeling the repercussions of financial stress,” Kaley Keeley Buchanan, senior vice president and head of PNC Organizational Financial Wellness, said. “We believe these survey findings offer business leaders important insights that point to the value of investing in employee financial wellness benefits that could help to balance the needs of their workforce with the financial realities of their businesses.”

According to the survey, 96% of employers surveyed believe that their ability to offer financial wellness benefits could improve employee retention. The vast majority of employees agree, with 80% reporting that such benefit offerings may make them want to stay with their current employer. However, fewer than 15% of employees reporting having access to financial education and counseling tools.

Other findings in the survey include:

  • Employers should consider offering financial wellness benefits like a free session with a financial advisor to help meet employees’ needs. While the majority (eight in 10) of employers believe their employees are at least somewhat financially prepared for the future, only half of employees said they feel prepared. When asked specifically about retirement, 64% of employees said they are concerned they won’t have enough money for retirement and 78% are worried they won’t be able to retire when they want to. Furthermore, 78% of employees surveyed said they haven’t worked with a financial planner in the last three years.
  • There is an opportunity for more employers to offer matching contributions. Eighty-six percent of employees surveyed said they would value retirement fund matching, but only 59% of employers consider retirement matching a must-have benefit. That said, 47% of employers who don’t currently offer retirement matching said they would consider adding it to their existing programs.
  • Emergency savings accounts top the list among benefits employees would value. Seventy-four percent of employees surveyed said they would value having an emergency savings account as a benefit, yet only 5% said they currently have access to one through their workplace. Although employers expressed interest in providing emergency savings accounts for their employees, 72% of surveyed employers admitted they don’t offer them yet.
  • According to the survey, 94% of employers believe they are responsible for offering their employees financial wellness benefits, but 75% of those surveyed are concerned about the potential for a recession in the near future impacting their ability to do so.

“These findings clearly underscore that both employers and employees are concerned about money, inflation and potential recession, but the two groups are not always aligned on benefits-related priorities,” Buchanan said. “PNC’s goal is to provide our clients with industry insights, tailored solutions and customizable programs to help them, as employers, improve overall employee financial wellness and create a more productive and confident workforce.”

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