As World Mental Health Day approaches, new research1 shows that employers believe that stress and anxiety related to financial worry and debt is the number one health and wellbeing concern among all generational employee demographics, with the exception of Baby-boomers2.

The research conducted by GRiD revealed the cause of stress and anxiety was cited by 30% of employers for Gen X, by 33% for Millennials/Generation Y and by 31% for Generation Z. For Baby-boomers, employers are most concerned (30%) about the issue of living with long-term chronic illness or health conditions, such as diabetes.

Comparison with 2022

In similar research undertaken in 2022, employers thought that stress and anxiety related to financial worry and debt was a primary issue for just Gen Z and Millennials/Gen Y. However, this year, employers feel that stress and anxiety related to finances and debt is now the most pressing issue for Gen X too, replacing stress related to work for this generation. This reflects the ongoing cost of living crisis and how its impact is affecting a greater number of people.

Employee views

When employees were asked directly themselves about the biggest concerns for their own health and wellbeing this year (2023), they agreed that the same issue was most prevalent: stress and anxiety relating to finances was the most common issue troubling Gen Z, Millennials/Gen Y, and Gen X. Baby-boomers agreed with their employers that living with long-term chronic illness or health conditions (e.g. diabetes) is their most pressing health and wellbeing concern.

The pattern is clear: namely that with the cost-of-living crisis, employee finances are under strain, and this is taking its toll on employee health and wellbeing. With physical and mental health so closely linked, what can begin as an isolated issue, can have consequences in a number of other areas of health and wellbeing too, so it’s important to have a means to deal with these issues efficiently and effectively.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said:

Employees are mostly in agreement about what their most pressing health and wellbeing concerns are, however, the important thing is for employers to put support in place to help alleviate this stress. If it is not already in available, World Mental Health Day is a good a time to address a shortfall in provision.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD

Although stress and anxiety related to finances and debt is most employees’ primary concern, there are lots of other issues that are in close contention, including concerns relating to general lack of fitness (due to non-active lifestyle/sedentary working) and related to work (such as pressures of overwork, uncertainty of future). It’s therefore important to cater for all health and wellbeing concerns across all employee generations.

Katharine Moxham concluded:

Our research shows that employers are in tune with their staff and have a good understanding of the wider issues that affect their health and wellbeing. However, employers that offer employee benefits such as group risk (employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness), are better placed than most to offer help for their employees’ main concerns, as the embedded support covers all areas of health and wellbeing for all generations of staff.

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.