45% of female staff have financial anxiety

Almost half of female employees (45%) feel more financial anxiety than they did before the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic compared to 38% of men, according to new findings.

Close Brothers’ report, Expecting the unexpected: a spotlight on preparing for a crisis, included responses from 2,000 UK-based employees working for businesses with 200 or more employees, and revealed that 24% of female staff felt financially unprepared for the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns compared to 14% of men.

Just 15% of female employees have saved more into their personal pension and 13% have increased their workplace pension contribution, compared to 24% and 19% respectively for their male counterparts. More than a quarter (28%) of women have not experienced any financial consequences from Covid-19 as opposed to 37% of men.

Three in five (59%) women either have already or plan to make changes to their financial preparedness, compared to 55% of men. Around three-quarters (73%) plan to or have already started keeping a closer eye on their spending due to the pandemic, whereas 52% of men said they have, and two thirds (65%) are saving more into an emergency fund versus 57% of men.

Additionally, more than two in five (44%) women admitted they worry more about their financial health because of the pandemic compared to a third (34%) of men, 56% about their mental health versus 45% of men, and 50% about their physical health as opposed to 40% of men.

Jeanette Makings, head of financial education at Close Brothers, commented that there is a significant knowledge gap when it comes to longer-term saving and its financial wellbeing benefits, and building financial resilience must include later life financial planning too.

“It can be tough to balance competing financial priorities, let alone know the best saving vehicles to use, but this is where employers can help. They are perfectly placed to procure holistic, comprehensive, and impactful financial education programmes for their employees. These in turn will enable better financial outcomes for their employees, as well as reducing anxiety caused by ongoing money worries,” she said.