Baby-boomers are far less likely to see financial wellbeing as a priority in the workplace,according to new research.
As a result the age of company decision-makers can have a significant impact on whether employers adopt and actively support financial wellbeing initiatives. It can also effect the range of financial products available.
The research from Smarterly looked at attitudes in more than 500 UK-based employers. When decision-makers at these companies were asked if it was the employer’s role to support employee financially wellbieng, 82 per cent of those aged under 25 said yes, while only 35 per cent of those aged 55 or over agreed.
This also correlates with employees’ views of these services. Almost one in two (45 per cent) of younger employees said they would take up take up any financial wellbeing services offered. But among baby-boomers this figure fell to just 28 per cent.
Smarterly’s head of proposition Steve Watson says: “We know that unconscious bias impacts recruitment decisions, but it seems that it could be affecting the level of support employers give employees too.
“Financial wellbeing is an important part of the employee benefit mix and so it’s worrying that decision-makers at UK organisations aged over 55 are not as convinced as their younger counterparts.
“Younger decision-makers, on the other hand, are more in tune with the needs and wishes of today’s workforce – with over 80 per cent seeing it as an important employer-provided benefit.
“People – young and old – need to be supported throughout their working lives and a good financial wellbeing programme can provide this.”
These results — part of Smarterly’s research on realigning workpalce savings to meet the needs of millennials — show that financial wellbeing in the workplace continues to primarily focus on pensions and pensions guidance, which is not a priority for millennials. They welcome more support on making savings for the short to medium term.
Michael Johnson, Research Fellow for the Centre for Policy Studies and Corporate Affairs and Policy Adviser to Smarterly, adds: “Millennials’ desire for flexibility and personalisation is at odds with how many workplace benefits packages have traditionally been designed.
“Historically, ‘the scheme’ has been the focus with little attention paid to the wants and needs of individual employees. The first step towardspersonalisation could be to segment the workforce by age cohort. There is mounting evidence, for example, that millennials (aged 18 to 40) aspire to own their first home ahead of saving for retirement.”
He says that many workplaces may want to offer products lifetime ISA products – which offer first-time buyers the flexibility to access these funds.These also pay a 25 per cent bonus on contributions, equivalent to basic-rate tax relief – although overall contribution levels are lower.
However this research showed that companies with younger decision makers were far more likely to launch products such as ISAs for their workforce. Half of companies with a decision maker aged 25 or under had this product, compared to just 6 per cent of companies where the decision maker was aged 55 plus.