Morgan Stanley at Work today released the latest findings from its inaugural State of the Workplace Financial Benefits Study, highlighting the economic challenges that employees face amid the pandemic, as well as the evolving views on financial wellness benefits in the workplace.
The study found that employees across all generations are struggling with their personal finances amid the pandemic. This has led employers to utilize financial wellness benefits in an effort to reduce employee financial strain and drive productivity. Among the notable findings from the study:
- Employees lost financial footing amid the pandemic. 91% of employees report having faced personal financial issues, with the top three being: household budgeting (47%), debt reduction (42%), and emergency and short-term savings (30%). Nearly one in four Millennials (23%) report having faced a full-blown financial crisis, compared with 17% of Gen X, and 8% of Boomer employees.
- Employee contributions to all financial accounts took a hit. More than half (59%) of employees said they needed to reduce contributions to savings, debt, or loan payments that occurred across 401(k) savings accounts (29%), long-term savings (28%), emergency and short-term savings (25%), and debt and loan payments (25%).
- Employees and HR executives alike see the impact of personal financial stress on work productivity and performance. 64% of employees report that financial stress is negatively affecting their work and personal life, while 82% of employers are worried personal financial issues affect employee work productivity. This is particularly higher among Millennials, where 70% cite higher financial stress, compared to 61% of Gen X and 49% Boomer employees.
- HR executives and employees have an idea where to start. About 1 in 3 (34%) HR executives and 1 in 4 employees (21%) say student loan repayment management is an essential benefit to helping employees meet their personal financial goals.