Stress a risk as redundancies and unemployment rise

Surge in joblessness highlights importance of access to counselling

The importance of employers having adequate counselling and stress support strategies in place was underlined today as official figures today revealed an increase in redundancies and job losses.

Over 150,000 people lost their jobs through redundancies in the three months to July 2011. Over the quarter, 162,000 people had become redundant, up 47,000 over the previous three months, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Increases in redundancies tend to lead to greater uptake of mental health services in the workplace, according to recent data from the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development. CIPD statistics suggest that over a third of employers noted an increase in reported mental health problems among employees in 2010, with those that had made or were planning to make redundancies more likely to report an increase.

Today’s redundancy figures helped to the largest quarterly increase in unemployment since the three months to August 2009. The total number of unemployed people increased by 80,000 over the quarter to reach 2.51 million. That means the UK unemployment rate for the three months to July 2011 was 7.9%, up 0.3%.

The number of people employed in the public sector fell by 111,000 between March and June 2011 to reach 6.04 million. This is the largest fall in public sector employment since comparable quarterly records began in 1999. However, the number of people in private sector employment increased by 41,000 on the quarter to reach 23.13 million.

Insurers warned that the too many people are still unaware of how losing a job or being unable to work due to illness or injury could quickly result in serious financial difficulties.

John Pollock, group board director for Legal & General’s Risk businesses, said the insurer’s MoneyMood survey suggests that almost 12 million UK households are already struggling to make ends meet, with 45% worried about covering their household bills and 57% dipping into their savings to cover the mortgage payments.

But he added: “When it is extremely difficult to just manage the current household budget, putting any money aside to have that financial cushion to fall back may seem impossible. Yet, the cost of arranging some insurance cover, that could really help to ease some of the financial pressures is available for as little as £1 day.”

comments powered by Disqus