Mental health a problem for finance industry

by Rebecca Pike12 Jul 2018

A recent report has highlighted the problems of ongoing stress and mental health problems in the financial services industry.

The Financial and Insurance Services Industry Profile Report from SuperFriend is an industry snapshot taken from an annual ‘Indicators of Thriving Workplace’ survey of 5000 workers.

It examines the current state of workplace mental health in the Australian financial services industry and compares it to the national average across all industries.

The study revealed that nearly half of all financial services employees (47%) are experiencing ongoing stress in their job, which is 9% higher than the national average.

Forty-four percent of those working in the industry say they have left a job due to a poor mental health environment.

Only half of those surveyed believed their employer makes enough time to take action.

SuperFriend chief executive officer, Margo Lydon, said, “Not only is financial services a highly competitive industry, but the staff across the industry are often engaging with members and customers during some really tough moments in their lives, such as redundancy, illness, death or major life changes like retirement.

“All of these moments require staff to be empathetic, supportive as well as know the technical components of their job. This can create pressures and stress if staff are not trained or well supported.

“However, a number of organisations have made great improvements to their culture and workplace through a range of programs, by investing in mental health awareness and prevention initiatives including mental health training. It is clearly work in progress for the industry.”

According to the study, over 66% of employees in the industry believe that investment in workplace mental health and wellbeing would improve productivity, and 63% believe that it would reduce absenteeism.

An additional 62% of respondents believe that investment in workplace mental health and wellbeing would improve staff retention.

Lydon said, “Employers stand to benefit from improving the mental health of their workplace, with bottom line benefits including greater productivity, talent retention and long-term cost savings.

“Particularly with financial services businesses, there is a need for greater focus on preventative measures such as, mental health policies, training for managers and staff, flexible work arrangements and recognition programs which can help to prevent issues from developing in the first place.”

The report found the most successful workplaces have a positive culture. SuperFriend said this can be achieved through ensuring managers are committed to promoting mental health and wellbeing of staff, supporting staff effectively through change, building a culture that encourages open discussion about the issues that affect mental health and wellbeing and making sure managers lead by example through setting a good example for a healthy, happy and productive workplace.

 

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