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A new survey of 2,000 British workers across major industries such as retail, manufacturing and financial services, suggests that British businesses aren’t doing enough to support financial literacy, and are consequently missing opportunities to improve productivity, wellbeing, and staff retention.

The research from Zellis shows that less than half (44%) offer programmes to help employees make informed financial choices and boost their overall financial wellbeing. It also indicates a clear need for more financial education in the workplace, as the majority of workers (58%) don’t fully understand their payslips and only a quarter (24%) look at their statement every month.

Many also struggle to access important information about their employment package, with four in 10 (40%) claiming they don’t know the total value of their benefits and rewards, despite ranking it as the second most important factor after base salary when looking for a job.

Additionally, nearly a third (32%) of employees said they aren’t given enough information about the benefits available to them, while a quarter (25%) said the same about their pension options, preventing them from making choices that truly meet their financial needs.

John Petter, CEO, Zellis commented:

The best organisations are creating a modern, cohesive pay and benefits experience for their employees, with financial literacy and wellbeing at the heart of it.Unfortunately, they are in a minority. There is a real need to focus on the basics of helping colleagues understand the true value of their employment package, including their payslips, workplace benefits, and pension options, as the evidence suggests a need to significantly improve awareness. Organisations that get this right will enjoy better hiring, retention and performance – as well as happier colleagues!”

Access to financial education would help with employee engagement and wellbeing:

  • 63% said they would feel more looked after
  • 33% said they would be more loyalto their employer
  • 31% said they would feel less stressed about money issues

The vast majority (88%) of employees aged 18-34 said such initiatives would have a positive impact on their personal situation, compared to just 69% of employees 35 and over. This correlates with numerous studies which suggest thatmillennial and Gen Z workers feel the most vulnerable in their financial situation.

For businesses already struggling with productivity, financial stress leads to lower levels of engagement and concentration, as well as a higher rate of absenteeism.

Gethin Nadin,award-winning HR author and Director, Employee Wellbeing at Benefex (part of the Zellis group) added:

“The UK has some of the lowest rates of financial literacy in Europe. Add to this the effects of austerity, stagnated wage growth, and increased borrowing, and employees are really struggling. With little support available elsewhere, all eyes are turning to the employer to assist. This research confirms that a wellbeing strategy which focuses on improving knowledge of financial products and employee benefits is much needed.”