Almost a quarter of workers in the East of England have a hidden health issue they’ve never disclosed to their employers, with younger employees the most likely to withhold information from their bosses, according to new research.
A survey of 1,000 employees, carried out by the UK’s most trusted business healthcare provider, Benenden Health, revealed nearly 24% of respondents in the East of England have a health issue they have never revealed to their employer. Nationwide, some 63% of Generation Z (16-23 years) and 60% of Millennials (24-38 years) surveyed said they haven’t told their employers about a health issue, compared to 35% of Generation X (39-54 years) and 18% of Baby Boomer (55-72 years) respondents.
The survey also revealed one in 12 (8%) workers in the East thought they wouldn’t be hired if they’d told their employers they had a health issue, with younger workers again more concerned about the impact on their employability, with 12% of Generation Z employees and 18% of Millennials nationally saying this was a concern, compared to just nine per cent of Generation Xers and three per cent of Baby Boomers.
Additionally, one in seven (14%) of respondents in the region said they had had to lie to their employer about taking time off for an appointment and nearly half (49%) of employees don’t even feel comfortable talking to their employers about their personal health.
Benenden Health, which also surveyed 1,000 SMEs on their health and wellbeing offering for employees, is calling on business owners to open communication channels with their staff and consider the health needs of their workforce to support a healthy team, increase retention and reduce unexpected absences.
With the provider’s research showing SMEs would sooner recruit a 55-year-old than a 24-year-old with the same CV, younger workers are already at risk of being overlooked for roles, without having to worry about their health impacting on their employability.
The data also highlighted the importance of benefit packages in attracting new recruits to a business. When questioned, almost half of all respondents in the East of England (47%) said a strong health and wellbeing programme would increase their likelihood to join or stay with a business, with a fifth (20%) saying they would be willing to take a less well-paid job if it had a strong health and wellbeing package in place.
Yet, despite this, 86% of SMEs in the region don’t offer a healthcare package for employees above statutory allowances, with 59% of these saying they don’t consider a health and wellbeing package valuable in recruiting staff.