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  • Up to 70% of investment bankers believe admitting to stress would harm their careers*
  • Two out of three will consider quitting their job if stress does not improve*
  • Banks invest heavily in support that’s not being accessed for fear of reprisal, MetLife research shows*

Rising stress in the City is driving more than two out of three investment bank staff to consider quitting their job – but employees believe talking about stress or mental health issues to management will damage their careers, new research* from MetLife shows.

Its study among decision makers at financial institutions found that two out of five (40%) think their job is extremely stressful with 67% considering quitting their jobs in the next year if stress levels do not improve.

However, despite the impact of stress on their work and home lives, around 70% believe that admitting to suffering from anxiety or mental health issues will damage their career prospects.

Despite the fact research shows that investment banks are putting money into tackling stress and investing in support for staff just 18% of employees say their organisation has a positive attitude to mental health issues.

The research also shows that a majority of investment banks are putting money behind programmes designed to tackle stress and provide support for staff: 67% of employees say they are provided with resilience training to help them cope with the stress of work.

The wider wellbeing agenda is supported at financial institutions with 81% of staff having access to health advice and almost all (97%) offered subsidised gym membership.  Around 88% receive employee assistance programmes that include counselling. The research shows financial institutions are way ahead of other employers in supporting wellbeing. Earlier MetLife research** found just 10% of all employees are offered subsidised gym membership while 12% have access to health advice.

But despite the data, other less costly but potentially more effective approaches are not being offered.  Only 44% are offered flexible working and half of those questioned say they are working 25 or more weekends a year.

Tom Gaynor, Employee Benefits Director at MetLife UK said: “Investment banks are, on paper, making a significant commitment to tackling stress and mental health issues amongst their workforces and it is pleasing to see the investments reported in resilience training and wellness at work initiatives.

“Despite this, a significant taboo still exists, as reflected by the high percentage of employees, who said they think that talking about their mental health will damage their career prospects.”

“We know from our 2014 Employee Benefit Trends study that a key driver in helping employees feel valued and engaged in their company is their line manager. This latest research infers that, in addition to putting the monetary investment into programmes for employees, investment banks must address employee perceptions that line managers will not be supportive of an employee asking for help.”

MetLife is partnering with Maudsley Learning as part of its commitment to help employers tackle the challenges of stress and mental health and throughout 2016 has campaigned to highlight the need to increase awareness of the benefits of organisational resilience and training.

It offers its own ProActive Protection group income protection policy which takes a proactive approach to preventing absences and helping employees who are unwell to return to work. It aims to understand employee health issues before they become serious problems and provide support to enable employees to return to work more quickly, where appropriate.

Employees can access a range of health and wellbeing information and other support services via MetLife’s Wellbeing Hub. They can use the Employee Health Gateway to calculate their own ‘Health Age’ and receive personalised health and wellness information. There is also a comprehensive 24×7 employee assistance programme (‘EAP’) providing practical life management support, guidance on health issues and counselling services, including access to five face-to-face counselling sessions.  

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