Female Employees Feel Less Supported – Lockton Survey Reveals

8th April 2024

Posted In: The Topic

Approximately six in ten workers in Ireland (63pc) have expressed concerns about their employer’s inadequate support of their physical, mental, and financial wellbeing.

A survey from Lockton People Solutions has found that there is a significant mismatch in organisations between employers and employees, with most respondents saying that they only feel moderately supported by their employers (20pc), or not supported at all (35pc).

Only 15pc of employees feel their needs are fully supported by their employer.

The research asked over 700 workers from across the country their thoughts on workplace supports, to gauge the extent to which their wellbeing needs are currently being met by their employers.

A notable finding from the report highlighted that in the main, female employees feel less supported in all aspects of their workplace wellbeing than their male counterparts.

Highlights from the Lockton People Solutions Employee Benefits Survey:

•Those working in construction and the public sector are least likely to feel supported by their employer’s wellbeing initiatives compared to pharma and agriculture. In the case of mental wellbeing, 61pc of pharma and agriculture feel that their needs are being met compared to just 37pc of construction and 41pc of public sector employees.

•Over three-quarters (76pc) of private healthcare and education professionals do not feel supported concerning their financial and lifestyle wellness.

•Seven in ten (69pc) of those working in public sector healthcare and education industries do not believe that their physical wellbeing needs are being met.

•Employees in the largest organisations of 250+ workers feel the most looked after across the board.

Ray McKenna, Partner, Lockton People Solutions commented, “The results shine a light on the mismatch between employee needs and employer’s understanding and recognition of these needs. Employees across the board are not satisfied that their needs are being met. Often, this is not because the employer is not trying to look after their staff – but simply because they don’t know how to. So, their efforts are misdirected and often in vain.

The fact that female employees are less likely to feel supported speaks to the need for greater cognisance on the part of employers of the differing needs of their workers. Whether that be based on gender, age, or simply on the individuals within the organisation.

The best way for employers to find out where they can make changes or improvements is to open regular two-way dialogue about what works and what doesn’t. Communication regarding employee wellbeing benefits can fall between the cracks and get lost amongst other organisation initiatives or priorities.

Unsurprisingly, workers in larger organisations with over 250 employees feel their needs are being taken care of much more than in small or medium-sized organisations. This is most likely down to resources and more well-developed channels to engage and communicate with staff. Larger organisations have the budget and resources to put into a robust and diverse suite of wellbeing initiatives so, there is more of a likelihood of something appealing to everyone. But this doesn’t mean that smaller organisations can’t be effective in this area – it’s just a case of harnessing the resources that are available in a meaningful way, by selecting the most relevant suite of benefits, with suitably qualified providers, and communicating this in a holistic way so that people can value and access the benefits when most needed”.

 The survey also found that when it comes to individual needs:

•Over one-third of employees surveyed (35pc) don’t feel supported at all as an individual and attest that their personal wellbeing needs are not being recognised or considered.

•A further one-fifth (20pc) feel moderately supported while 45pc state that they feel adequately supported to varying degrees.

•Those in the cohort of between 45 to 54 feel least supported when it comes to their individual needs compared to other age groups  – 43pc compared to 28pc of those aged 25 – 34.

Ray added: “It is important to recognise the diverse personal circumstances of people, at all stages of work and life. Ideally, a benefits programme should align with their unique preferences and lifestyle choices in a meaningful and engaging way. By establishing regular channels for employees to provide feedback such as using surveys, focus groups, employee resource groups, and capturing utilisation data to gather insights, employers can get an idea of what changes might be needed.

The disparities across age groups underscore the importance of employee engagement and feedback when it comes to wellbeing – what works for someone in their 20s may not appeal to a worker in their 40s and vice versa.

It is vital to consider varied life stages and adopt more inclusive approaches to wellbeing strategies to foster a more supportive workplace for employees at different stages of their professional lives.

This also includes adopting more equitable leave policies for all with caring responsibilities or other commitments.

And any changes to the design of a benefits programme will not be optimised unless wrapped up in a compelling narrative, that is credible and authentic, that engages staff on a continuous basis – where people understand what’s offered and why, and how to easily access those benefits”.