In a shifting landscape where financial woes have become a common concern, a surprising revelation has emerged – the working poor are not only grappling with financial hardships but also seeking greater understanding and support from their employers.

The debate over whether personal-finance issues belong in the workplace has gained new momentum as the working poor, those employed individuals facing financial difficulties, voice their need for assistance.

Recent insights from the Income and Expenditure Hub (IE Hub), a free budgeting platform, have brought to light the desire among employees for their employers to be more attuned to their financial health.

This data challenges the conventional belief that personal finances should remain a private matter, emphasising the potential benefits of open discussions.

What causes financial instability?

The IE Hub’s data shows that a significant proportion of its customers in need of financial assistance are actually employed – nearly 28 percent are in full-time positions, with an additional 17 percent working part-time. This stands in contrast to the assumption that unemployment is the primary driver of financial instability.

Digging deeper into the financial landscape, IE Hub’s findings unveil a surprising reality. Among those surveyed, individuals employed full-time are carrying an average total debt of £5,182, exceeding the average debt of £3,794 held by the unemployed. Part-time employees fall in between, with a mean debt amount of £3,332. This data underscores that being employed does not necessarily equate to improved financial standing.

CEO of IE Hub, Dylan Jones, noted, “The data from IE Hub makes it evident that employed individuals are facing the harsh reality that rising costs of necessities are outpacing their earnings, resulting in spiralling debt burdens they bring into the workplace.”

Jones continued, “Feedback from our platform users highlights that employers who prioritise their employees’ financial well-being witness heightened productivity and a more positive workforce. Acknowledging the impact of financial stress on productivity, engagement, and overall well-being is vital. By proactively addressing these challenges and offering effective financial solutions, organisations can foster a supportive and thriving work environment endorsed by employees.”

Financial hardships: a call for a more compassionate approach

The IE Hub platform offers employees a less stressful way to manage their financial planning, equipping them with tools to navigate their financial challenges. Jones emphasised that “Personal debt should no longer be a taboo topic. Encouraging dialogue can catalyse positive action.”

As the working poor increasingly vocalise their need for financial assistance and transparency from employers, the prevailing notion of personal finances as a private matter may be shifting. The call for a more compassionate and comprehensive approach to employee well-being is gaining momentum, highlighting the potential for improved satisfaction, loyalty, and longevity in roles.

In a world where financial struggles are becoming a shared experience, fostering an environment that encourages dialogue and support could prove to be the cornerstone of a more resilient and empowered workforce. The message is clear: understanding the financial realities of the working poor is the first step toward building a stronger, more united workplace.

 

 

 

 

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 the 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.