2022 started off strong for employees: the job market was hot, and employees were wooed with perks and bonuses. But as we enter 2023 with more uncertainty about the economic environment, the pendulum has swung. Fears of a global recession have caused employers to tighten their belts. Now, mandates to cut costs must be balanced with calls to assist employees during times of financial struggle.
So, how are economic headwinds impacting employers and employees? What tradeoffs are people making, and how can employers best support their workforce during this time? To find out, we surveyed 2,094 employees across various service providers, industries, ages and asset levels, as well as 301 Financial Wellness professionals highly involved in benefit decisions. The results are shared in the report Tomorrows, new and improved: What you can do to boost your employees' financial health .
Life is being put on hold
Seven in ten employees are delaying important life and wealth building events in today’s economy. For example, one in three are delaying retirement, on average by about five years. As a result, the “financial wellness” of employees is taking a toll: just over half (55%) report high levels of feeling secure in their finances and making choices that allow them to enjoy life.
Employees are looking for help managing their financial wellness
Many employees are turning to their employers for help in today’s economic uncertainty. About seven in ten employees agree that companies have a responsibility to their employees to help them achieve high levels of financial wellness. Almost nine in ten employees recognize the value of financial wellness programs in helping them stay accountable when managing their finances. But while the value of these programs is recognized, adoption is low: only 44% of employees are currently participating when one is available. There are many ways employers can increase adoption of financial wellness programs. We present a few below.
1. Customize financial wellness programs to meet individual needs
Most employees—almost 9 out of 10—agree that a financial wellness program should be highly customized, and most are willing to share personal information.
Younger employees, including 77% of Millennials, are more willing to share personal information. Contrary to popular belief, most employees don’t need to be incentivized to participate in a financial wellness program.
2. Provide access to financial coaching
Most employees agree that access to ongoing human support is helpful in keeping them accountable during their financial wellness journey. More than eight in ten employees who participate in a financial wellness program said access to a financial coach motivated them to join. However, only about four in ten companies offer this benefit.
3. Communicate proactively and consistently during times that matter most
Communication is essential to helping improve adoption. Nearly nine in ten employees appreciate when their employer communicates both proactively and consistently during times that impact their financial well-being.
4. Help employees better prepare for retirement
Employees say that saving for retirement is the most important need when it comes to their overall financial well-being, but many need help in the area. Unfortunately, less than half of employees feel their company is effective in helping them reach their retirement goals. In fact, one-third don’t even offer this benefit.
5. Showcase the many benefits of participation
Nine in ten financial wellness participants felt their company’s program provided them with the knowledge and resources needed to manage the current economic uncertainty. Participants have a much greater sense of financial wellness and being able to achieve their financial goals. They are also more confident in their ability to retire when and how they’d like. Financial wellness participants are also more likely to have investments and retirement accounts beyond their employee-sponsored retirement plan. That’s a sign of financial health.
UBS Workplace Voice is a research publication series revealing employee attitudes and behaviors regarding the workplace. For more, see the full report, Tomorrows, new and improved: What you can do to boost your employees' financial health , and visit the Workplace Voice landing page .
To learn more about UBS Workplace Wealth Solutions, visit ubs.com/workplacesolutions .
About UBS Workplace Wealth Solutions
UBS Workplace Wealth Solutions collaborates with corporate clients to deliver customized solutions across a range of programs for the workplace, including financial wellness and retirement. We currently provide more than 10,000 employers and their two million employees in over 150 countries with access to financial knowledge, benefits programs that prepare them for retirement, and an integrated experience that combines the right mix of people and technology. We work side-by-side with our clients so that everyone feels rewarded at work and optimistic about realizing their long-term financial goals.
About the survey
UBS Workplace Voice is an industry-wide online survey of employee benefit participants. It is designed to generate insights employers can use to help participants maximize the value they receive from their company benefits such as equity awards, financial wellness and retirement. The responses represent a cross-section of companies, industries and service providers. For this edition of UBS Workplace Voice, we surveyed 2,094 employees across various industries, ages and asset levels in February of 2023. We also surveyed 301 Financial Wellness professionals who are highly involved in benefit decisions.