New insight  has found that employer led health and wellbeing benefits are becoming increasingly important when it comes to employee satisfaction and retaining talent.  However, some employers could be underestimating the impact and struggle employees are currently facing and how unsupported they feel.

The research from Health Shield Friendly Society of full and part-time workers across the UK* revealed that against the backdrop of the cost of living crisis, 9 in 10 (91%) say they are more likely to stay with an employer that offers health and wellbeing benefits, whilst 7 in 10 (70%) say the health and wellbeing support that a prospective employer offers is important.

While the majority of employees feel their employer does support their health and wellbeing, there are some stark differences when it comes to gender and earnings. Those on lower salaries seem to feel the least supported. Over 7 in 10 (77%) employees who earn under £25,000 a year said their employer supports them in this way, compared to 93% of employees who earn over £40,000 a year.  Meanwhile just 10% of male workers said their company does not support them with their health and wellbeing, this is compared to 18% of female workers who said the same.

The cost of living struggle

There’s no denying that the cost of living crisis has impacted UK workers. They have endured rising costs on every front from food and utilities to rents and mortgages over recent years, with salaries required to stretch further and further.

Nearly 9 in 10 (84%) workers believe employers should support them with the increased cost of living in some way. Worryingly the research indicates that just half of employees (50%) believe their employer cares about the impact it has on them. This means half don’t believe their employer cares. Female employees are also less likely to agree that their employer cares about the impact of the cost of living crisis. Only 45% believe they do; this is compared to 55% of male employees.

Whilst 40% of employees would tell their employer if they were struggling financially, females are less likely to do so, just 34% would, compared to 46% of male employees.

The findings reveal that the average employee feels they would need an extra £274 a month to make a meaningful difference and relieve the struggle of rising costs. If this was to be replicated on a national scale, it would cost employers over £104 billion, illustrating the depth of the problem. While inflation may be on its way down, the impact of recent high levels is likely to be felt by employees for months or even years to come.

It is no surprise to see that employee concerns over their wellbeing has risen too. They have increased by 188% in recent years. Almost a quarter 2(24%) of employees say they feel always/often exhausted at work, whilst 253% of employees have worked in their main job in the last three months despite not feeling well enough to do so, up from 246% in 2022. When you consider these findings, it is perhaps inevitable that the number of people leaving the workforce due to long-term sickness is at its highest since the 31990s

Paul Shires, Commercial Director at Health Shield Friendly Society, commented:

Employers should be helping their workforce be as mentally and physically healthy as possible. The results and impact speak for themselves, with so many employees saying how important a strong workplace health and wellbeing plan is to them and indeed how it keeps them working where they are. In 2024 these things cannot be overlooked, employees don’t just want pay rises, they want healthcare plans that will look after them and their families in the long term and prevent minor ailments turning into serious issues.

Paul Shires, Commercial Director at Health Shield Friendly Society

1The ultimate guide to workplace wellbeing | The Access Group

2Health and wellbeing at work 2023: Views of employees (

3Sick people leaving workforce at record highs – BBC News

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.