A staggering 25 percent of the United Kingdom’s workforce is grappling with financial stress, which significantly hampers their ability to concentrate at work.

As the cost-of-living crisis intensifies, the well-being of company culture is deteriorating, and employees are increasingly seeking new opportunities elsewhere, according to a recent study by Perkbox, the global rewards and benefits platform.

Perkbox’s survey of over 2,000 UK workers highlights the profound impact of financial concerns on the workplace.

The research reveals that 30 percent of employees admit to feeling envious of colleagues who don’t have to fret about their finances, while 23 percent report that conversations about money have led to animosity among coworkers.

However, the survey also indicates a strong desire for open discussions about money in the workplace, with 51 percent of workers welcoming such conversations.

Generational Struggles

The financial strain is most acutely felt among the youngest generation, with 31% of Gen Z workers avoiding money discussions to avoid envy of higher-earning colleagues, and 24 percent fearing that such conversations will hinder their career advancement. In contrast, only 18 percent of the entire workforce shares these concerns, and just one in 10 baby boomers express similar anxieties.

Mona Akiki, Chief People Officer at Perkbox, remarks on the situation, “Finances can be a controversial topic in the workplace, and Gen Zs are bearing the brunt of this, having spent most of their careers during the cost-of-living crisis. With a quarter of the overall workforce preoccupied by money stress, employers cannot afford to ignore the money conversation. Doing so risks productivity, motivation, and company culture. Instead, employers need to acknowledge the pressures workers are facing and facilitate an open dialogue to understand how money stress is hurting their business. Delivering meaningful support is contingent on listening and responding to the needs of workers.”

Urgent Need for Addressing Money Conversations

UK businesses are at risk of losing their top talent if they do not address their workforce’s financial concerns. Nearly 29 percent of employees admit to actively seeking new job opportunities with employers offering greater financial support. Moreover, 32 percent of workers feel less motivated to work hard due to the perceived lack of effort from their employers in helping with rising costs, and 34 percent harbour resentment towards their employers for not providing more support.

The study also identifies the most sought-after forms of financial support among workers, aside from salary increases:

  1. Personalised rewards and benefits (35%)
  2. Discount schemes that aid in saving on shopping (34%)
  3. Flexible rewards that can be spent at will on leisure activities (32%)

Akiki adds, “Businesses should encourage employees to be more open about the causes of their financial stress. This will enable them to meaningfully acknowledge the ongoing pressures of the cost-of-living crisis and offer the right support. What that support looks like will be different for everyone in your workforce, but providing this is both the right thing to do and helps keep people motivated. Businesses should look to offer a rewards and benefits package that can be tailored to workers’ diverse needs, whether it’s discounts on weekly food shops or funding the small things like a trip to the cinema or a takeaway. These tools will go a long way to ensuring everyone in the workforce feels seen, supported, and appreciated.”





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.