Press Release of the Day – 9th June

Mental health impact of salary cuts during Covid-19: Stats & comment from Barnett Waddingham

Six in ten of the working UK population have seen a member of their household (including themselves) take a salary reduction. New research from Barnett Waddingham reveals the real impact of this on mental health in the UK, including stress, anxiety, mood swings, and deteriorating relationships.

Please find the key stats and comment below from Peter Meyler, Associate and Head of Workplace Consultancy at Barnett Waddingham, and do let me know if you’d like to speak to Peter on this research.

  • 61% of UK employees have seen a member of their household take a salary reduction, and 79% of those say it has affected their mental wellbeing
  • Of those who have seen a fall in their household income, 40% have had increased anxiety and 39% increased stress. 28% have had sleepless nights, and 23% say the reduction is their biggest concern at the moment
  • 12% have seen their relationships deteriorating – this is truest of those whose parents have seen a fall in income, at 21%
  • Women are more likely to be affected by men, with 87% affected compared to 75% of men. Women have seen significantly higher stress levels (32% to 24%), higher anxiety (48% to 33%), more sleepless nights (32% to 24%), and increased headaches and migraines (15% to 13%)  
  • Disabled people are more likely to report mood swings (24%) and deteriorating relationships (23%), while non-disabled people have more sleepless nights (28%), stress (39%), and anxiety (41%)
  • BME employees are more likely to be affected than their white counterparts, at 87% compared to 77%
  • Those whose parents have seen a hit in income are the most affected group, with 85% reporting an impact on their wellbeing – and the loss of income of parents, partners, and siblings causes more stress than one’s own income (44%, 42%, 42% respectively, compared to 40% own income)

Peter Meyler, Associate and Head of Workplace Consultancy at Barnett Waddingham, said: “There is a tendency among employers to try and split and respond to physical, mental, and financial health separately. The Covid-19 crisis has reinforced that this ignores the reality. Financial health has a direct and tangible impact on people’s mental wellbeing. The global pandemic has, of course, hit mental health hard, but so too will the economic consequences of the crisis from entering a deep recession.

“Employers need to be careful not to view their actions in a vacuum. For those making decisions around pay and potential redundancies, now is the time to consider the impact on your employees’ wellbeing as paramount. Communication and engagement are key, and it’s a two way street. Listen to the concerns and requirements of your workforce, and carefully consider any ideas that they may have for alternative solutions to avoid job losses. Do your best to communicate outcomes and decisions with openness, clarity and empathy”

“For those struggling, please do seek help. Mental Health UKMind, and the NHS are all providing free resources to support mental health at this time.”

Impact of household salary reduction (UK employees)
Increased anxiety 40%
Increased stress 39%
Sleepless nights 28%
It’s currently my biggest concern 23%
The salary reduction in my household has not affected me 21%
Mood swings 20%
Increased headaches/migraines 14%
Relationships deteriorating (e.g. arguing more) 12%
Prefer not to say 3%
Other 1%

– Ends –

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