Retirement anxieties, financial insecurity plague Indian employees: Study

A survey by Willis Towers Watson reports that 56% of Indian employees anticipate a less comfortable retirement compared to their parents’ generation


About 52% of employees think they are less effective at their work due to financial problems. Photo: iStockphoto
About 52% of employees think they are less effective at their work due to financial problems. Photo: iStockphoto

Hyderabad: Over half of Indian employees fear they will be worse off in retirement compared to their parents, a survey found, with three-fourths admitting to average or high stress levels because of short-term and long-term concerns.

Professional services firm Willis Towers Watson Public Ltd Co. reported that 56% of Indian employees anticipate a less comfortable retirement compared to their parents’ generation despite them expressing satisfaction with their financial situation that increased 9% since 2013.

The study of over 2,000 employees in the country found that almost 54% are worried about their future financial state. As many as 46% of employees expressed concerns and one in three persons said financial problems were negatively affecting their lives.

Financial insecurities hinder performance of employees at the workplace, Willis Towers Watson said on Tuesday.

“The growing insecurities of employees around long-term financial stability demands the immediate attention of employers,” Kulin Patel, director of Willis Towers Watson India said in a statement.

About 52% of employees think they are less effective at their work due to financial problems. Employees with both short- and long-term concerns are 1.5 times more likely to report poor health and twice as likely to leave for another job, the study said.

A growing proportion of employees expect to work through their 60s to meet their financial obligations.

“Gradually, employers are understanding the link between their employees’ well-being and their performance and productivity at work, and how this affects the organisation’s bottom line,” Patel said. “Soon, they will realise that a holistic approach is needed to address these issues effectively.”

One in four employees, the survey results suggest, prefers superior retirement or health benefits to pay and bonus while two in five prefer some alternative to pay and bonus.

A one-size-fits-all approach cannot be adopted consistently across organizations, the company risk management and advisory company recommended.

“There is a need to boost engagement and productivity by reconfiguring the benefit package offered by employers. Different employee segments may require a different mix of benefits that depend on their financial priorities at their given stage in life,” Patel pointed out.

About 57% employees said their employers should have a role in encouraging them to save for retirement, while 32% said they would be uncomfortable receiving targeted messages from their employer on these matters.

The biggest growth in promoting financial well-being in India will be in the use of customized and targeted messages, which is the game plan of 50% of employers over the next three years, on top of the 13% already doing so, Willis Towers Watson stated.

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