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Insurance professionals say mental health dives in 2020

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The number of insurance professionals reporting their mental health & wellbeing as “positive” or “neutral” has slumped by 19% since COVID-19 struck, compared with a fall of just 5% in banking, according to a survey from recruiter Hays.

The Hays Barometer Report survey asked financial services employers and staff in Australia and New Zealand about changes in the workplace as a result of the pandemic, specifically around mental health and wellbeing, as well as equality, diversity and inclusion.

Before the pandemic, 95% of insurance professionals had rated their mental health and wellbeing as either positive or neutral. That fell to 76% in the latest survey, which was conducted in August and completed by 4,105 people.

“As the crisis drags on, business leaders have become more concerned with their employees’ mental health & wellbeing than perhaps any other time in recent history,” Hays says.

“Employees have certainly been pushed to their emotional limits and faced many challenges to their mental health and wellbeing, including financial worries, concerns about their physical health, apprehension about returning to the workplace and isolation and loneliness for those working from home.”

Across financial services organisations more broadly, half of employees surveyed felt less positive about their careers while 12% described their organisation’s current phase as “crisis,” half as “defensive,” and around a third as “growth”. The “rapid growth” phase option was ticked by 3%.

The top three priorities for financial services organisations were supporting the mental health and wellbeing of staff, continued support of remote working and protecting the jobs of staff.

The top three long-term planned changes due to COVID-19 were regular flexible working, retention of new communication and collaboration tools and retention of some virtual recruitment processes.

Financial services employees said the top three aspects of a job that had become more important since lockdown were access to online collaboration and communication tools, job security and regular remote working.