In Business & Trade by Clyde Mooney

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New research on the impacts of financial stress cites significant problems amongst hospitality workers, and detriment to business amounting to billions per year.

Research conducted for AMP Bank on the saving habits of those in the hospitality industry found many workers live with little or no financial buffer, in a negative trend going back more than a decade. 

The data found 21 per cent of hospitality workers have less than $250 in savings, and 86 per cent of those have none at all.

Male employees have (on average) fourteen per cent more money saved than women, but more men have less than $250 saved than women (27 per cent vs nine per cent).

More than half of all hospitality workers are uncomfortable with their level of savings, and 48 per cent regularly dip into savings.

AMP’s Financial Wellness report calculated the impact of financial stress costs Australian businesses billions of dollars annually. 

Employees experiencing financial trouble take an extra 2.4 sick days, and spend almost an hour per week dealing with money problems at work.

The report found financial stress impacts 40 per cent of all Australian workers at some time, averaging more than six years, with 2.44 million Australians currently suffering.

Michael Christofides, AMP Bank

“Financial stress can have a huge impact on the health and morale of employees,” offers Michael Christofides, AMP director of retail solutions.

“While many people think money worries are a personal issue, research from our workplace super team shows financial stress spills into our working lives and costs businesses $31.1bn per year in lost revenue, due to lost productivity, sick leave and lost motivation.”

It was found hospitality workers see the expenses preventing them from saving more as: rent (33 per cent), mortgage repayments (21 per cent) and bills (18 per cent).

There has been a decline in savings rate since the GFC, contributing factors thought to be rising property values and stagnant wage growth, with ongoing increases to the cost of living.

The absence of a safety net for turbulent times can have a huge impact on both mental and physical health. The hospitality industry is already recognised as having a high incidence of mental health issues.

“For pub owners and operators, it’s important to take your employees’ financial wellbeing into account,” says Christofides.

“You can help staff prevent financial stress with supportive workplace policies to help them engage with their finances. This could include encouraging employees to do twice-yearly health checks and to plan ahead financially, setting even small financial goals that can help them significantly ease any money worries they have.   

“In doing so, you will have a more productive and engaged workforce that can only be positive for your business.”