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Study finds employers vastly overestimate worker well-being


Photo: Leontura/iStockphoto

New York — A pair of surveys have revealed a large gap between how workers feel about their financial, mental, physical and social health and how their employers perceive it.

For its 21st annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, financial services companies MetLife commissioned separate employer and employee surveys. The employer survey involved more than 2,800 interviews with benefits decision-makers and “influencers” at organizations with at least two employees. The other survey consisted of nearly 2,900 interviews with full-time employees at organizations with at least two employees.

Findings show a 28-point percentage gap between the portion of the employees (55%) who said that they’re financially healthy and the employers (83%) who reported that their employees are financially healthy. Additionally, researchers revealed 20-point percentage gaps between both groups when assessing employee mental health (65% vs. 85%) and physical health (67% vs. 87%).

With regard to social health, 67% of the workers answered positively, while 86% of the employers indicated that they think their employees are socially healthy.

Other key findings:

  • Although overall job satisfaction among the employees improved to 69% this year – from 66% in 2022 – it was the second-lowest percentage since 2013.
  • Nearly half of the employees (48%) said financial concerns adversely affect their mental health.
  • 7 out of 10 said a supportive manager is a “must have” for employers who want to demonstrate that they care.

More than 1 out of 4 of the employees said they don’t feel cared for by their employer. Those workers were 72% less likely to feel valued by their employer and 65% less likely to feel a sense of belonging at work. Among this group, 45% are engaged, 58% are productive and 54% are loyal (versus 87%, 90% and 89%, respectively, among the workers who said they feel cared for by their employer).

“Our research shows care is not only a differentiated driver of the employee experience, but also a proven workplace metric to measure employee outcomes,” Todd Katz, executive vice president of group benefits at MetLife, said in a press release. “As the economy and labor market remain volatile and workplace trends fluctuate, employers can’t afford to overlook employee care.”

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