The second, annual employee insight report has been published by Capita Employee Benefits. Based on interviews with more than 3,000 people in employment it examines the financial wellbeing of the nation and looks at employee’s attitudes toward pensions, retirement, auto-enrolment, savings, benefits and occupational health.

Findings in this year’s research include:

  • More people feel worse off in Wales (50%), Yorkshire (47%) and the North East (41%), whereas in London more people feel better off (36%) than a year ago
  • Keeping on top of day to day living costs remains the nation’s top priority (33%) but saving for a holiday is next (31%), beating paying debts (30%), saving for emergencies (17%) and saving for retirement (16%)
  • Employers can make employees feel more valued though the simple act of a ‘thank you’ for work done. While, like last year, a pay rise tops this category (51%), a thank you is the next most popular answer (29%), beating flexible working (18%), professional development or training (15%) and even a promotion (13%)
  • Google remains the nation’s top financial adviser with more than a third (37%) of respondents saying that’s what they turn to first when researching financial products. Family and friends are consulted by a third (33%) and more than one in five (22%) turn to the personal finance pages or money-themed TV and radio programmes
  • More than half of employees (52%) say they would be more willing to save into pension if they had a better idea of how they worked. Nearly two thirds of women (61%) compared to just over half of men (52%) say they find pensions communications complicated and confusing and create a barrier to them saving more effectively for retirement
  • When it comes to how people plan to support themselves in retirement, nearly half of employees (45%) intend on living off their state pension- making it the most popular choice
  • Regarding pension investments, nearly half of people (48%) describe themselves as cautious or very cautious investors, a third (36%) are balanced and one in six (14%) describe themselves as adventurous or very adventurous. Men (16%) are more likely to be adventurous than women (11%) and the under 24’s more adventurous (30%) than those over 65 (19%)
  • The research points to the success of auto-enrolment in getting people to save for retirement. More than half (58%) of employees who have been auto-enrolled had not previously joined any other kind of personal/private pension scheme. However, although people are now saving, just 22% of auto-enrolled employees are confident that they will have enough in their pension pot to retire comfortably
  • We are a nation of borrowers. Around half of us (46%) have a mortgage, more than a third (36%) have outstanding debt on a credit card, a quarter (25%) have an overdraft and nearly one in six (14%) owe money to family
  • Nearly 9 in 10 (87%) employees would be comfortable talking to employer about a mental health issue but employees become less comfortable with age – just half (50%) of those over 65 agree.

Susan Ring, chief executive at Capita Employee Benefits, said: “The survey is the largest and most wide ranging of its kind into the financial health of the nation and it contains both results that we expect and some that we don’t. It looks at how good employee benefits can aid recruitment and retention, how auto enrolment has affected the pensions landscape and how thousands of us, across all ages, regions and types of job, view their retirement.  It also tackles health in the workplace and what employers can do to help reduce stress or get their employees fitter and more productive – physically and mentally.”