Last month, we released a Jellyvision report that revealed how employees were feeling about their personal finances and benefits in light of COVID-19. The results found that nearly 1 in 2 employees were worried about their current financial situation, and 59% plan on paying more attention to their benefits this year. 

As the economy continues to evolve and COVID-19 remains a part of our daily life, we were curious to find out what’s changed since last month. Are employees more or less worried? How do factors like age, location, and income play a role in their concerns? 

We surveyed a new group of 1,000 employees to find out how they’re feeling about their finances and benefits now that we have one more month of COVID-19 under our belts. Here’s what we learned: 

Employees are more worried about their financial situation than they were a month ago

The biggest overall leap from last month is that employee financial concerns grew by 6%. Across almost all demographics, employees told us they’re worried about their current financial situation. Whose concerns grew most significantly? 

High-income employees

Of all the demographics, financial worries jumped the most among employees who make $150,000 or more. While lower-income employees appear to have been impacted by the economic downturn immediately, wealthier employees may just now be feeling the added financial pressure from COVID-19.

I’m worried about my current financial situation

Highly educated employees

Financial concerns also grew amongst employees with a bachelor’s or graduate degree. Again, these employees may not have been financially affected immediately by COVID-19, but the ongoing economic downturn is starting to sink in. 

I’m worried about my current financial situation

Young people

Employees in their 20s are outpacing their older counterparts when it comes to growing financial concerns. Young adults who are looking for their first jobs, or are early in their careers, may be feeling the impact more than others. 

I’m worried about my current financial situation

Employees are planning to pay more attention to their benefits this year

The next most significant leap is that this month, employees were 3% more likely to say they’ll pay closer attention to their benefits during open enrollment this year. Which demographics jumped the most? 

I’m planning on paying more attention to my employee benefits during open enrollment this year
Demographic% change from last month
Manufacturing employees19%
Employees who make $200,000+19%
Parents9%
Urban employees9%
Employees in their 30s9%

Also, we’re continuing to see the same differences as last month when it comes to men versus women. Men are significantly more likely to pay more attention to their benefits than women: 

I’m planning on paying more attention to my employee benefits during open enrollment this year

What this means for you:

A large majority of employees already told us last month that they’d be paying more attention to their benefits. But as we get closer to open enrollment season, it’s important for employers to know that the consensus is growing—and investing in strong benefits education materials is more necessary than ever. 

Find out how ALEX can help you streamline open enrollment communications.

Employees are saving less for retirement

All of this financial stress is driving changes in employee behavior, and a growing number of employees are saving less for retirement. Overall, employees were 3% more likely to say they’re saving less for retirement this month. And similar to other trends, high-income and highly-educated employees were among the demographics who took the biggest leap.

I’m currently saving less for retirement than I normally do
Demographic% change from last month
Employees who make $150,000-$199,99926%
Manufacturing employees18%
Employees with a graduate degree14%
Education employees13%
Employees who make $100,000 to $149,99912%

What this means for you: 

While many are reducing their retirement contributions right now, be sure to educate employees on why staying the course could benefit them long-term. The weekly contributions they make now are actually buying more shares than they would have before the downturn, because they’re cheaper. 

Show employees how much they could personally be saving on retirement every year.

Some employees are more concerned about layoffs and furloughs than before

Employees in certain industries are much more concerned than last month about losing their jobs. We’re now seeing a drastic difference in concern between rural and urban employees:

I’m worried that I could be unemployed or furloughed at some point in the next twelve months

Worries were also most likely to increase amongst survey respondents who work in manufacturing or the government, while employees who work in technology and education were less concerned this month than they were last month. 

I’m worried that I could be unemployed or furloughed at some point in the next twelve months

What this means for you

Combat this uncertainty with information. Good news or bad, make sure you’re being as transparent with—and helpful to—your employees as possible. Whether it’s a company meeting with updates about your organization’s financial health and strategy changes, or more proactively promoting financial wellness benefits and resources, give employees as much information as possible so that they can make better decisions about their own health and finances.


If there’s one thing to be gained from this data, it’s that one-size-fits-all communication for COVID-19 initiatives and open enrollment won’t work.

Employees are feeling the economic impact in wildly different ways, meaning employers should target their messaging to apply to each demographic. Learn more about how COVID-19 has impacted your employees specifically—so that you can make smarter decisions about which benefits plans are right for your organization, better communicate with your employees, and provide them with the support they need during this challenging time.

Download Employee Views on Personal Finances and Benefits During COVID-19.

Methodology

This survey was conducted in May 2020 by Maru/Blue on behalf of Jellyvision. It surveyed 1,000 US adults (ages 18+) who currently get their medical insurance through their employer as an employee benefit. Both fully-employed and furloughed employees were included in this research.

Respondents were asked about their feelings on their current financial situation, their employer, and their benefits. Other information, such as basic demographic data and employer industry, was also collected.