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Money worries biggest cause of stress for UK Millennials

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October 4, 2018

Millennials are twice as likely to stress over money than their Baby Boomers parents, research has revealed.

 Financial circumstances have been cited as the biggest cause of stress by 38% of employees – with almost half (47%) of millennials saying it was their number one source for stress, but only a quarter (24%) of Baby Boomers agreeing. 

The research, by Willis Towers Watson, also found that millennials were more stressed than their parents in other areas of their lives, including relationships (41% vs 20%), jobs (38% vs 32%), and health (29% vs 24%). 

The research also found that finances were a bigger worry for women workers (44%) than their male colleagues (34%). 

“The younger generation is often regarded as carefree, but this research challenges this perception,” said Mike Blake, wellbeing lead at Willis Towers Watson. 

“From job insecurity, pay freezes, mounting student debts, high property prices and the emergence of the gig economy, millennials have had a lot to contend with financially when reaching working age.

“What’s more, millennials also worry more about their health than the older generation.  Millennials are often overlooked when it comes to health, as there is a misconception that having youth on their side makes them ‘fit and fine’.” 

In addition, the study, conducted among 2,824 UK employees, revealed that one in ten (13%) employees have taken time off work due to mental health issues in the past two years.

Highly-stressed workers took more than twice as many sick days as workers with low stress (6.5 days vs 2.6 days), and the rate of sick days for workers with anxiety or depression was more than double that of all other workers (7.1 days vs 3 days).

Blake said: “The business impact of stress, anxiety and depression can be severe.  Prevention is always better than cure. 
“By evaluating sickness absence data, companies can identify if there is a stress issue among certain demographics and develop a tailored approach to effective support.

“Raising awareness of stress and mental health by regularly adding the topic to the agenda in one-to-ones and team meetings can encourage conversations, enhance greater understanding amongst colleagues, help to build internal support networks and increase resilience.  

According to the research however, almost half (45%) of employees are not comfortable disclosing stress or anxiety issues to their manager. 

“Training line managers to recognise the symptoms that indicate a worker is struggling can enable early intervention before matters escalate, Blake added.

“Bringing the topic out in the open breaks down barriers and removes any fears that may exist inhibiting staff from admitting that a problem exists and from asking for assistance.”

About the 2017-18 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey

The Global Benefits survey is a global study that explores individuals’ attitudes to their health and retirement benefits. The survey took place between July and August 2017 and was completed by 2,824 employees at medium and large private sector companies in the UK.

About Willis Towers Watson Health & Benefits

Willis Towers Watson’s Health & Benefits team helps clients to cut the cost of employee illness, minimise levels of sickness absence and retain good staff. It offers employee benefits packages, healthcare insurances, employee assistance and stress management programmes, health screening and absence management initiatives.

The company also helps employers reduce the frequency and cost of claims made on healthcare or income protection policies through its specialist nurse-led claims management team. By giving employees expert support during an absence, the company is consistently successful in returning staff to work quicker.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW ) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has more than 40,000 employees in more than 140 countries. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential.

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