The financial services sector has the highest percentage of employee absences due to mental ill-health, according to new data from employee relations experts AdviserPlus.
AdviserPlus’ analysis of its records of more than a quarter of a million employees shows that since 2013, more than 1 in 3 (33.9%) absence days in the financial services sector have been due to mental ill-health. This compares to 1 in 4 (24%) absence days in the retail sector and 1 in 5 (22%) in the utilities sector.
Chris Clarke, Chief Executive at AdviserPlus, commented:
“Mental ill-health is the biggest reason for long-term absence in the UK, accounting for over 15 million working days lost in 2016. Our data suggests that the financial crisis and increased personal responsibility under new regulations are taking their toll on those working in financial services. The percentage of absences in the sector due to mental ill-health has increased year on year.
“It’s crucial that financial sector businesses measure the level of workplace absences due to mental ill-health within their organisation, and have plans in place to respond. Line managers need to be properly trained, to enable them to spot the early signs that someone may be suffering from mental ill-health so that they are able to provide help and support before the illness becomes more serious.”
The AdviserPlus data also reveals that men are more likely to be absent from work due to mental ill-health than women, with 33% of days off due to mental ill-health compared to 29% for women over the last year. It also shows that younger people are taking more days off work due to mental health issues than older employees. Among 26-35 year olds, 35% of absences are due to mental ill-health, compared to just 23% among 56-65 year olds.
Chris Clarke added:
“With male suicide now the single biggest killer of men under 45 it’s no surprise that men have a higher percentage of absences due to mental ill-health. Thankfully, businesses are starting to follow in the footsteps of sport and other sectors where men have been placed front and centre when it comes to tackling mental ill-health.
However, it’s worrying that mental ill-health is more prevalent among younger members of the workforce. This may be because people are more likely to go through periods of increased stress between the ages of 26 and 35 when life changes such as marriage, children and, career advancement are heightened.
“Employers need to use data analytics to assess if particular age groups are being affected in their work place. If they are, they need to tailor the support they offer to address the particular issues those individuals are likely to be facing.”
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