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Employees struggle to meet living costs

Research from Thomsons Online Benefits finds that employers are not providing enough support to employees with financial issues

A third (30%) of UK private sector employees often or constantly worry that they are unable to meet day-to-day living costs, finds research from Thomsons Online Benefits.

According to the research 28% of the workforce say their income just about covers their living expenses, or that they have to borrow money to be able to cover them. A quarter (25%) say they have little or no confidence in their financial future, with the same proportion believing they have little or no chance of saving adequately for retirement.

When it comes to managing debt only 40% feel they manage their debt well, with 10% fretting about debt or struggling to keep up with repayments. However, despite their concerns 26% would fund an unexpected expense of £1,000 by using a credit card.

The findings suggest employers are failing to provide enough support for employees struggling with their finances. Just 6% of employers currently provide debt consolidation via workplace lending and counselling services as part of their benefits schemes.

This lack of clear employer support means only 10% of employees would currently seek help and information from their employer, the report continued, 19% would look to a friend, and 29% would talk to a family member. However, employees would turn to their employers if support was available, with 88% citing they would be open to using financial education and products delivered via their employer.

Neil Atkinson, head of pensions and financial wellness at Thomsons Online Benefits, said that employers play an important role in helping workers plan for their financial futures.

“We’ve already witnessed UK employers take on an integral role in people’s financial futures with the introduction of auto-enrolment, but there is clearly huge scope for them to do more,” he said.

“Employees today are dealing with a huge range of financial pressures preventing them from meeting their day-to-day living expenses – let alone saving into a pension. They are hungry for help and willing to accept this from their employer. All that remains now is for UK employers to augment and diversify the financial support they offer their people. The benefits of doing so will be felt threefold: by their employees, themselves and the UK economy.”

The research surveyed 2,000 UK adults working in private sector organisations with more than 500 employees in May 2018.