The prolonged coronavirus pandemic’s effect on working Canadians’ financial well-being persists, with the stress taking a toll on their savings and their productivity in the workplace, according to a new survey by LifeWorks Inc.

Although Canadian workers’ financial well-being score for April is negative 2.2, a slight improvement from February’s negative 2.8, the survey found it was still lower than the pre-pandemic benchmark data collected in 2019. Earlier this year, 21 per cent of the respondents reported increased financial concern; however, the number has since decreased to 18 per cent. As well, 77 per cent of respondents reported the same level of concern and only six per cent reported decreased financial concern.

Read: Canadians’ financial well-being on the decline: survey

Despite the gains, more than half of respondents said they had either no emergency savings (28 per cent) or limited savings that would cover less than two months of essential expenses (26 per cent). “Employers are often unaware of the challenges faced in the workforce,” said Paula Allen, global leader and senior vice-president of research and total well-being for LifeWorks, in a press release. “There are people over the age of 50 with no emergency savings and others who prefer to go beyond only saving through pension plans. It is essential to provide a system that offers more personalized options.”

The impact of the pandemic on Canadian workers’ productivity for spring 2021 was also low at negative 1.7, though it was an improvement compared to February’s score of negative 2.3. More than a year into the coronavirus crisis, nearly one in three (30 per cent) respondents indicated their financial situation is currently impacting their work productivity.

Financial stress among younger Canadians is impacting their workplace productivity the most, with respondents aged 20 to 29 scoring the lowest (negative 16.9) compared to those aged 30 to 39 (negative 7.2 to negative 8.0), 40 to 49 (negative 2.7 to negative 4.2), 50 to 59 (1.9 to 0.7) and 60 to 69 (4.6 to 4.8).

Read: Employee mental health, productivity remain low amid pandemic

As well, the survey found the productivity score (negative 8.6) for parents was nearly 10 points lower than for people without children (1.2). And managers had a slightly lower financial well-being (negative 2.1) than non-managers (negative 1.7).