Nearly half of finance workers afflicted by poor mental health environment

Nearly half of all financial services employees (47%) experience ongoing stress in their job, a study by national mental health organisation SuperFriend has revealed. The figure is 9% higher than the national average.

According to the study, 44% of those in the financial industry left a job due to a poor mental health environment.

The report is based on SuperFriend’s annual “Indicators of Thriving Workplace” survey of 5,000 workers. It examines the current workplace mental health in Australia’s financial services industry, and compares it to the national average across all industries. 

“Not only is financial services a highly competitive industry, but the staff across the industry are often engaging with members and customers during some really tough moments in their lives, such as redundancy, illness, death, or major life changes like retirement,” SuperFriend chief executive officer Margo Lydon said in a statement.

According to her, those moments require staff to be empathetic, supportive, and knowledgeable. Pressure and stress can weigh down workers who lack training or support.

However, Lydon has observed that “a number of organisations have made great improvements to their culture and workplace through a range of programs, by investing in mental health awareness, and prevention initiatives, including mental health training”.

“It is clearly work in progress for the industry,” she added. 

Boosting workplace productivity and positivity
Half of the respondents said that their employer makes enough time to take action, and a third consider their employer as the best, or one of the best, in cultivating a mentally healthy workplace.

The study also shows over 66% of financial industry employees believe that investing in workplace mental health and wellbeing would contribute to productivity, and 63% believe that it would decrease absenteeism (both are 5% above national average).

An additional 62% of respondents believe investing in workplace mental health and wellbeing would improve talent retention (6% above national result).

Positive workers, positive outcomes
Thriving and positive workers in various industries across Australia demonstrate more commitment to their organisation’s goals, foster better relationships with peers, and produce higher quality work, according to Lydon.

The report found that the most successful workplaces practice the following:

  1. Ensure managers are committed to promoting their staff’s mental health and wellbeing.
  2. Support staff through change.
  3. Build a culture that encourages open discussion on issues affecting mental health and wellbeing.
  4. Make sure managers lead by example and reflect a healthy, happy, and productive workplace.   


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