Transport industry plagued by financial stress
AMP's Financial Wellness report has found the transport and logistics industry is the hardest hit by financial stress, impacting one-in-four workers.
According to the report, there are currently 2.44 million Australians suffering from financial stress and this is having a significant impact on the economy, costing Australian businesses an estimated $31.1 billion per year in lost revenue.
Financial stress impacts one-in-four of Australia's transport, postal and warehousing employees (25%). This is both a rise from 2016 levels (23%) and above the national average among employees across all industries (19%).
Employees troubled by their financial circumstances take an extra 2.4 sick days per year and spend almost an hour per week dealing with money problems at work.
AMP Director of Workplace Super Ilaine Anderson said the transport and logistics industry's rising financial stress levels are a particular cause for concern.
"Workforces in most industries across Australia have become less financially stressed since 2016. The fact that Transport, Postal and Warehousing is one of the few areas that has become more stressed indicates a need for more support from employers," Ms Anderson said.
"While many people think money worries are a personal issue, our research shows being financially stressed spills into your working life, increasing absenteeism and impacting productivity," she said.
Ms Anderson believes January and February can be the worst months for financial stress and this is something employers should look out for.
"As the holiday season comes to an end, and credit card bills start to roll in, many Australians will be starting the new year under significant financial pressure.
The value of goal setting
Ms Anderson added: "The research shows if people have well-defined goals and a plan in place to achieve them, they have greater peace of mind. Goals help lift people above the day-to-day expense cycle, allowing a more 'in-control', longer-term view.
"People don't wake up and think 'I'm going to get a home loan' - it starts with the desire, or a goal, to buy a house. Connecting finances with goals help us engage with our finances, and then having a plan to achieve these goals can significantly ease stress."
How employers can help
Ms Anderson commented employers can play an important role in promoting financial wellness.
"The research found flexible working hours and the ability to work from home improved employee performance, engagement and financial wellness. Reducing the stigma around financial stress is also important, as many of those surveyed cited embarrassment and guilt as a major reason for not tackling their financial woes.
"We need to make sure talking money isn't seen as taboo and implement financial literacy campaigns within our businesses to help employees achieve their financial goals," Ms Anderson said.