Recent months have highlighted the importance of looking after mental health and wellbeing, particularly in the workplace. People working in advice may be accustomed to dealing with clients in crisis, but the coronavirus situation brings unprecedented challenges to an already stressful and demanding role. This post launches our wellbeing focus campaign.


Our adviser wellbeing research  

Back in March, we published research that aims to ensure that the process of developing a new workforce strategy for debt advice starts by learning from the experience of the people already working in the sector.

Of all findings within the research, the most concerning arose around the issue of adviser wellbeing. 

  • Fewer than half of advisers felt optimistic about the future of free money advice  
  • More than half of advisers (or their colleagues) had experienced work-related stress 
  • More than half of advisers surveyed were not confident that they won’t experience work-related stress issues in the next 12 months  

These findings gave a clear indication that changes need to be made within the sector, including some which are within our scope to influence.


Our new wellbeing project

Many factors which impact on adviser wellbeing are structural – short-term, insecure funding was cited as the primary factor which impacts wellbeing. Advisers work to bring stability to the lives of their clients, but this can be made more difficult when their own roles are marked by volatility and precarity.

Nonetheless, advisers were also clear that practical action was necessary now. Two thirds of advisers considered wellbeing and resilience training for advisers as the most important issue to address low levels of adviser wellbeing. What’s more – and in line with concerns around insufficient support from management – the next most popular initiative was training for management on the issues of stress and wellbeing at work (56%).

We drew on this evidence to develop a new project to help improve adviser wellbeing. The project encompasses both policy and training initiatives and has four overarching objectives: 

  1. Tracker research that takes a pulse on advisers’ perceptions about wellbeing
  2. Training for advisers and management  
  3. Expansion of the MAS mentorship scheme
  4. By the end of March 2021, we will have developed a new wellbeing index for the advice sector in Scotland

Over the next few weeks, we’ll launch the first survey of our tracker research as well as issuing our new wellbeing round-up for advisers who are working through unprecedented circumstances. The project will be led by our Learning and Development Consultant, Niamh Brown, who will provide updates on the project as each initiative is launched.

It is already apparent that the impact of coronavirus on financial wellbeing will be severe and long-lasting. The early measures introduced by regulators and policymakers to protect people experiencing difficulty are welcome and essential.

When these measures are eased or removed altogether, it seems inevitable that the advice sector will witness a surge in demand that will bring pressure on those working on the frontline.

Our previous research shows that even before the onset of the coronavirus situation working in advice was stressful and intensive, with inadequate support mechanisms in place. Now more than ever, we can’t afford to continue to ignore adviser wellbeing.