New research undertaken by AMP for its 2016 Financial Wellness report has revealed that financial stress is highest in the accommodation and foodservices industry, affecting 35 percent of employees.

AMP commissioned TNS Global to undertake the research for its Financial Wellness in the Australian Workplace report, the sample size of which included 2,105 Australian employees working full time, part time or casually at least three days per week. The data was collected through online interviews undertaken from 14 to 23 June 2016.

According to the research, Australians’ confidence in their finances continued to decrease in the past two years, with 54 percent of people confident in 2014 compared to 48 percent in 2016. Lower confidence is despite an increase in disposable cash held by Australians, rising 6.3 percent over the past two years.   

It also found that casual workers are more than twice as likely to experience financial stress compared to full-time or part time workers. Fifty-four per cent of casual workers are financially stressed compared to 22 and 27 percent of full time and part time workers, respectively. 

Vicki Doyle, director corporate superannuation, AMP said “Financial stress is a common occurrence in the Australian workforce, with more than 2.8 million employees, representing one in four workers, under financial stress in 2016.  

“People who experience financial stress are more likely to be unable to work due to stress-related sickness, which can affect their health and morale in addition to lowering workplace productivity – at an estimated cost of $47 billion in lost annual revenue for employers.”

The research shows financially stressed employees lose on average 6.9 hours of productive work per week and, on average, are absent 1.3 hours per week due to stress-related sickness.

While hospitality workers are the most concerned about their finances, employees are also at high risk of financial stress in healthcare and social assistance (32 percent), and administrative services (31 percent).  


Additional findings:

  • Australians say common triggers for their financial stress are bad debt (50 percent of stressed workers), the need to save for retirement (35 percent) and providing for their family (34 percent). Missing bills and making mortgage repayments also contribute to higher levels of financial stress for 32 and 22 percent of stressed employees, respectively.
  • Brisbane is the most financially stressed city, with 30 percent of workers in this region experiencing financial stress. This is followed by Adelaide (25 percent), Perth (23 percent), Sydney (20 percent) and Melbourne (19 percent). Darwin and Hobart are the least financially stressed at 18 and 16 percent, respectively.
  • Females are more likely to experience financial stress with 30 percent stating this is the case, compared to 19 percent of males.
  • Low income is strongly correlated with financial stress with 34 percent of people earning less than $50,000p.a. under stress. However, the incidence of financial stress for high-income earners, earning $150,000 and above, is increasing with 16 percent stating they are under financial stress compared with only eight percent in 2014. 



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