Financial services employees face ongoing stress at work

Latest research from SuperFriend shows about half of financial services employees face ongoing stress at work.

According to the mental health organisation's annual Indicators of a Thriving Workplace survey, 47% of financial services employees are experiencing ongoing stress in their job, a statistic which places financial services 9% above the national average.

Additionally, one-third of financial services staff believe their employer has created a mentally healthy workplace while 44% of those working in the industry say they have left a job due to a poor mental health environment.

SuperFriend chief executive Margo Lydon said pressures on financial services staff required organisations to provide their people with workplace support.

"Not only is financial services a highly competitive industry, but the staff across the industry are often engaging with members and customers during some really tough moments in their lives, such as redundancy, illness, death or major life changes like retirement," Lydon said.

"All of these moments require staff to be empathetic, supportive as well as know the technical components of their job. This can create pressures and stress if staff are not trained or well supported,"

A special feature exploring health and wellbeing in the financial services industry was published in the most recent print edition of Financial Standard. You can view the full article here or read an extract below:

Emerging from the darkness of Royal Commission and rebuilding trust at the largest financial institutions needs to begin with a focus on people at the coalface.

Chief executive of the Association of Financial Advisers, Phil Kewin, admits it's a trying time.

"I've never seen a more stressful environment for advisers in terms of their business, the security of that business and the future of their business," he says.

As for why it's important to start with the health of people within the industry, Kewin analogises.

"My analogy is when you get on a plane, when they give you the oxygen mask you put your own on first before you put someone else's on, because if you don't look after yourself first, then you can't look out for anyone else."

AFA 2017 Female Excellence in Advice winner and Wellthy chief executive Lea Schodel says that in order to help others, advisers need to first focus on securing their own wellbeing.

"I am big believer that in any profession where you are giving and helping others, you need to take care of yourself first," she says.

"Your cup doesn't need to be full, it needs to be overflowing before you give to others - otherwise you are depleting your own energy and resources. This is self-care 101.

"The industry we are in is demanding - we are faced with constant regulatory, legislative and technical changes. We have a duty of care for our clients and are responsible for helping them achieve what is most important to them. Our results and professional image are often confused and impacted by media and market performance - which are things we cannot necessarily control.

"It is a stressful industry to remain profitable, professional, supportive and engaged for our clients, our staff and ourselves. And when you're stressed, it's hard to operate at full productivity, efficiency or with a clear and open mind."

Read more: Association of Financial AdvisersFinancial StandardLea SchodelMargo LydonPhil KewinRoyal CommissionWellthy
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