Mental health forcing employees from the industry

Mental health awareness and prevention in the financial services industry is still very much a work in progress, with 44 per cent of employees in the industry having left their job because of a poor mental health environment, SuperFriend has found.

The Financial and Insurance Services Industry Profile Report, which surveyed 5,000 workers, found that 47 per cent of financial services employees experienced ongoing stress in their job, outstripping the national average of nine per cent.

“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,” SuperFriend chief executive, Margo Lydon, offered as explanation.

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“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.”

Forty-five per cent believed that their employers did not have enough time to take action on mental health, but the survey revealed that it could very much be in employers’ interests to prioritise it.

Over 66 per cent of employees believed that investment in workplace mental health and wellbeing would improve productivity, and 63 per cent thought it would reduce absenteeism. Sixty-two per cent said that it would improve staff retention.

Both productivity and absenteeism in the industry are five per cent above the national average, while retention is six per cent above.

“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,” Lydon said.

“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.”

A third of respondents believed that their employer was one of the best in creating a mentally healthy workplace.

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