Financial services praised for mental health actions

The mental health of financial services workers saw improvements during COVID-19, becoming the second-highest overall thriving workplace.

The Indicators of a ‘Thriving Workplace’ study by Superfriend found financial services workers were in high demand as a result of Government policies brought in such as JobKeeper, JobSeeker and early access to super.

Financial services jumped from sixth place in 2019 to second place in 2020 with a score of 67.6 out of 100. Workplaces were judged on their connectedness, leadership, policy, culture and capabilities.

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The sector also saw the strongest productivity gains during the pandemic, up 9.8% since February 2020.

Over half of respondents said their financial services employer had taken steps to improve staff mental health and 60% described their workplace as ‘supportive’ or ‘extremely supportive’. As a result, 42% said they would ‘definitely’ stay with their employer for the next 12 months.

Positive measures, specific to the pandemic, included the ability to work remotely, flexible working and saving time and money on their commute.

Superfriend chief executive, Margo Lydon, said: “It is a good news story for the financial and insurance services industry from a mental health perspective, particularly after the long-term scrutiny the industry endured following the Senate Inquiry into Insurance and the Financial Services Royal Commission, and the impact these events and subsequent changes had on the sector workers’ wellbeing.

“The industry appears to be rallying and recovering from within, with its people in demand throughout the pandemic and subsequent recession.”

AustralianSuper group executive, membership, Rose Kerlin, said: “The industry banded together with a strong sense of shared purpose to help meet member needs effectively. None of us would want to go through another 2020, but it has certainly reminded us all of what’s important for both members and colleagues”. 

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