Almost four-fifths (78%) of UK employees rely on finance options such as credit cards in order to source money quickly between paydays, according to research by on-demand pay provider Hastee Pay.
The study, which surveyed 1,000 working individuals in the UK, also found that among London-based employees, the proportion relying on credit cards to source personal finance rises to 91%. This issue is not limited to those in lower paid positions, as across the UK 75% of high earners rely on credit cards, with 51% using them to source funds on a monthly basis.
Employees struggle, in particular, with the cost of commuting, as 32% of those polled report having found themselves unable to make it into work due to unexpected costs causing them to have insufficient funds for their journey. Four-fifths (81%) stated that they would turn down a job on the basis of travel costs.
Financial stress was reported to have impacted respondents’ sleep (38%), social life (29%), relationships (29%) and health (23%). A quarter (25%) of employees stated that they have suffered from a lack of concentration at work due to concerns regarding their finances.
Financial worries have impacted 21% of the workforce, a proportion which rises to 30% among those in higher level roles. However, 43% of the working population reported that they would feel uncomfortable asking an employer for a pay advance.
Almost half (45%) of those surveyed said they would be more likely to stay with an organisation that offered flexible payment options, and 44% stated that having total control over their earned pay was an appealing prospect. The majority (88%) stated that they would take pay frequency into consideration when searching for a new job.
James Herbert (pictured), chief executive officer at Hastee Pay, said: “It’s clear that traditional pay cycles don’t fit with modern financial demands; flexible payment is the key to motivating and retaining a happy, productive and engaged workforce.”
More than half (54%) stated that frequency of pay has an impact on their lifestyle choices, and 21% admitted that they have taken time to manage their finances during working hours.
Despite the apparent demand for aid, only 12% of employers offer face-to-face financial advice, and only 16% provide financial wellbeing programmes. Employees, meanwhile, feel that their organisation should provide more frequent payment options (23%), flexible payment options (35%) and impartial advice on how to manage finances (19%).
Herbert concluded: “Employers must begin to acknowledge and understand the silent strain that financial stress is having on their workforce. As part of the growing trend of businesses demonstrating corporate social responsibility, employers should consider a financial wellbeing strategy that offers guidance and which also empowers workers to reach out and ask for help, both confidently and discreetly.”