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56% of Indian employees fear they will be worse off in retirement compared to their parents: Willis Towers Watson survey

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DQINDIA Online
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More than half of Indian employees anticipate that they will be up against a less comfortable retirement than their parents’ generation, according to the latest survey by global advisory, broking and solutions company Willis Towers Watson. The 2016 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey found that while employees’ satisfaction with their financial situation in India has increased 9% since 2013, 56% of Indian employees still fear that they will be worse off than their parents in retirement.

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When questioned about their current financial state, as many as 46% of employees express concerns and more than 1-in-3 stated that their financial problems negatively affect their lives.

The study of over 2,000 employees in India found that almost 54% worry about their future financial state. A growing proportion of employees expect to work through their sixties to meet their financial obligations. All these factors pertaining to financial insecurities hinder performance of employees at the workplace.

The research found that 52% of employees think that they are less effective at their work due to financial problems. Among employees who have both short-term and long-term concerns, 75% admit to above average or high stress. In contrast, the same is true for less than 2-in-5 employees in the unworried group, employees who are not worried either about the short or long-term. 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.

Kulin Patel, Director, Willis Towers Watson India said, “The growing insecurities of employees around long-term financial stability demands the immediate attention of employers. Companies are beginning to take steps by making their employees’ financial well-being a core component of their overall well-being strategy and employee value proposition. 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. Soon, they will realise that a holistic approach is needed to address these issues effectively.”

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According to the survey, 57% of Indian employees support the idea that their employer should have a role in encouraging them to save for retirement. However, 32% would be uncomfortable receiving targeted messages from their employer on these matters. Such complexity should be addressed with sensitivity.

Notably, 46% of employers intend to offer a comprehensive suite of tools, seminars and education that cover budgeting, planned large purchases, debt reduction, wealth accumulation, protection/insurance and tax assistance/advisory by 2018, as revealed by the findings of the Towers Watson’s Staying@Work 2015/16 survey.

The biggest growth in promoting financial well-being in India will be in the use of customised and targeted messages, where 50% of employers intend to do so over the next three years, on top of the 13% currently doing s. Employers should aim to help employees address their different issues, from short-to-medium-term savings, through to the traditional long-term retirement savings.

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The survey results also suggest that 1-in-4 employees, when asked about their top priorities, prefer superior retirement or health benefits to pay and bonus and more than 2-in-5 would prefer some alternative to pay and bonus.

Kulin Patel further said, “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. For employers to move beyond their conventional role and intervene to support their employees, a one-size-fits-all approach cannot be adopted consistently across all organisations as a solution.

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