Canadian workers’ financial well-being score is declining amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to LifeWorks Inc.’s latest financial well-being index.

The survey, which polled 3,000 working Canadians, found their financial well-being score declined in the fall of 2021 to negative 2.3 from negative 1.6 in the summer and 2.2 in the spring of 2021. As some industries continued to struggle with slowdowns and restrictions due to the pandemic, respondents who reported having their salary reduced compared to the prior month had the lowest financial well-being score (negative 16.1), followed by those working fewer hours (negative 14.0).

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Respondents who are managers had a slightly lower financial well-being score (negative 2.5), compared to non-managers (negative 2.1). Meanwhile, the score for female respondents (negative 4.1) continued to significantly lag behind those of their male counterparts’ (negative 0.6). Employees aged 50 to 59 (9.8) and 60 to 69 (4.8) are faring much better than those between the ages of 20 to 29 (negative 12.6). And respondents with at least one child scored negative 6.5 compared to those without children at negative 0.4.

Notably, the survey also found Canadians are focusing on building up emergency savings. Slightly more than two-thirds (67 per cent) of respondents reported that three or more months of emergency savings is necessary, compared to seven per cent who don’t believe emergency savings are necessary. The survey also found respondents without emergency savings were nearly three-times more likely to need help with debt management than those with emergency savings. 

Read: Pandemic impacting employees’ financial well-being, work productivity: survey

While the overall productivity score (negative 0.8) for fall 2021 was an improvement over summer 2021’s score (negative 1.3), individual sub-scores paint a grimmer picture. For instance, respondents who reported having a reduced salary compared to the prior month have the lowest productivity score (negative 29.6), followed by those who reported working fewer hours (negative 19.1) and those not currently employed (negative 10.9). Additionally, managers said their financial situation has a greater impact on their productivity (negative 5.0) compared to non-managers (1.7).

The lower financial well-being of female respondents also had a greater negative impact on their productivity score (negative 1.5) compared to male respondents (0.0). Younger workers were more vulnerable to productivity reductions because of their financial situation, with those aged 20 to 29 scoring negative 17.2 compared to 5.1 for those 50 to 59 and 8.9 for those aged 60 to 69. And respondents with at least one child scored nine points lower when it comes to productivity than those without children (negative 6.9 and 2.0, respectively).

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