Lack of staff and increasing workload piles on pressure for finance sector

Staff working in the UK finance sector are increasingly stressed because of under-staffing, with more than half wanting to change jobs, according to new research.

A survey of 2,000 finance professionals, by recruitment company Robert Half, shows that staff in the sector can no longer cope with increased workloads, longer working hours and stress as employers fail to address the issue of under-staffing. As a result, 51% of respondents are looking for a new job.

Of those actively looking to move, 54% think their organisation is understaffed – 18% higher than those not looking to move. And when the same respondents were asked how under-staffing had affected them, 58% said workloads had increased and 40% were suffering from an increase in stress.

Unsurprisingly, with less staff and increased workloads, finance professionals were working longer than average hours.

The average working week in the UK is 37.5 hours, but almost a quarter (24%) of those surveyed worked an average of 50 hours a week. Even more disturbing is that 43% feel guilty about not putting in enough hours, an increase of 16% on last year.

Steve Carter, managing director of Robert Half Finance & Accounting, said: “Prospective churn [staff turnover] rates of these proportions are concerning. A certain amount of staff turnover is inevitable, and necessary to fuel the market. However, when more than half the workforce is job-hunting it is essential that companies look hard at what they offer their staff.

“Cutting back on resources has been necessary in recent years, but as the sector picks up, companies that don’t react to this will find it difficult to recruit and keep top talent,” he added.

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