Financial stress costs Australian businesses $31.1 billion annually and the hospitality industry is among the worst affected, according to AMP’s Financial Wellness report. 

The Financial Wellness Index, which measures how employees perceive their current and future financial situation, found 5 percent of Australian workers are severely financially stressed, 14 percent are moderately financially stressed, 35 percent are mildly financially stressed, 46 percent are financially secure.

The report, released on 21 January, found financial stress impacts almost one-in-four accommodation and food service employees (24 percent). This is well above the national average among employees across all industries (19 percent).

Currently, there are 2.44 million Australian workers classified as financially stressed and two-in-five experience a period of financial stress at some point during their careers.

Employees troubled by their financial circumstances take an extra 2.4 sick days per year and spend almost an hour per week dealing with money problems at work. AMP Director of Workplace Super Ilaine Anderson said although the results for the hospitality industry are a concern, it is an improvement from 2016 when 32 percent of workers were shown to be financially stressed.

“It’s promising to see a drop in the number of financially stressed hospitality workers, but there is a long way to go,” she says .”Hospitality is still one of the worst performing industries for financial stress.”

“While many people think money worries are a personal issue, our research shows financial stress spills into our working lives, increasing absenteeism and impacting productivity.”

Employers can play an important role in promoting financial wellness, says Anderson. 

“The research found flexible working hours and the ability to work from home improved employee performance, engagement and financial wellness,” she says. “Reducing the stigma around financial stress is also important, as many of those surveyed cited embarrassment and guilt as a major reason for not tackling their financial woes.”

Image: Nick Karvounis

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