80% of employees have problematic levels of debt (and expect employers to help them)

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Worries about financial well-being continue to rise among workers, according to a new survey, with 60% of respondents saying they are at least moderately concerned about the well-being of their household, an increase of 11 points since 2021.

Additionally, 50% say they are concerned about their emotional well-being and 48% say they are concerned about their physical well-being.

Workers agree that their employers are responsible for their wellbeing in these areas, and around a third (31%) say their employer’s efforts to contribute to overall wellbeing have increased over the past year. But less than half rate their employer’s efforts in these areas as excellent or very good.

Savings, bills and debts worry employees

The 2022 survey on well-being at workconducted by the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald Research, collected data from more than 1,500 full-time and part-time workers in the United States. The survey was conducted in July using online interviews.

Researchers found that saving enough money for retirement (45%), having savings for emergencies (41%) and paying monthly bills (38%) were the top causes of employee financial stress. Among respondents who said monthly bills were the biggest stressor, half said their mortgage/rent (53%) and shopping (52%) caused the most stress.

Debt was also a problem for a large majority – 80% – of employees. This is a sharp increase from 65% in 2021. Of those with a debt problem, 78% described their household’s level of credit card debt as a problem, 57% described their debt medical or health-related as an issue and student loans were listed by just over half (51%). Health emergencies (47%) are the biggest contributor to medical debt, while financing one’s own education (64%) was the top issue with student loan debt.

Mixed feelings about the job

Despite these concerns, most employees (60%) say they are extremely or very satisfied with their current jobs, which is consistent with the 2021 results. The majority give high marks to their overall and mental health, 60% saying their overall health is good or excellent, and 55% saying their emotional well-being and mental health are good or excellent.

The survey found that 77% of respondents said their employers had a responsibility to ensure employees were mentally and emotionally healthy, while 74% agreed that employers had a responsibility for health and well-being. – physical being of their employees. Two-thirds (66%) felt the same about their employer’s responsibility to ensure employees are financially secure and healthy.

Employers did not get high marks for their efforts to improve emotional and physical health. The survey found that 45% of workers said their employer’s efforts to improve their emotional wellbeing were excellent or very good, and 43% said the same about efforts to improve their physical wellbeing. . Only 36% rated efforts to improve their financial well-being as excellent or very good.

Decreased satisfaction with benefits

According to the survey, 44% of employees said they were extremely or very satisfied with their benefits package, down 7 points from 2021.

Health insurance (73%) and retirement savings plans (65%) were deemed most important in employees’ decision to keep their current job or choose a new one. Six in 10 said that being offered health insurance (63%) and a retirement savings plan (61%) through their employer contributed a lot to their feeling of financial security.

Health insurance (81%) continues to be the most common benefit offered to employees, followed by retirement savings plans (70%), vision insurance (70%), dental insurance (68%) and life insurance (63%).

Flexible work arrangements continue to be valued by employees. According to the survey, half of employees (51%) work from home or telecommute all the time (24%) or part (26%) of the time. At least 7 in 10 employees say working from home has had a positive impact on their well-being at work (78%), family/household dynamics (76%), physical well-being (74%), emotional well-being (74%). %), and financial well-being (71%).

After income and compensation, employees said they value flexible working hours (41%) and work-life balance (36%) the most from their employer . A third (32%) said they value generous paid time off the most, while a quarter (26%) value workplace flexibility the most.

EBRI officials said this year’s findings were very significant, given the importance of workplace flexibility, work-life balance and employee benefits. “Over the past few years, key metrics like job satisfaction, satisfaction with benefits, and work-life balance ratings have remained fairly consistent. It is important to note the declines measured this year in overall satisfaction with benefits and in work-life balance ratings, which contrast with stable job satisfaction, and the belief that remote work has improved well-being. be and underscores the need for employers to accelerate well-be efforts,” said Lisa Greenwald, President and CEO, Greenwald Research.

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John A. Bogar