Study: Financial Hardship on the Rise as Inflation Bites

The financial strain on workers worldwide is intensifying as the cost of living continues to rise amidst economic slowdown and high inflation, according to a recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The study reveals a significant increase in financial hardship among workers compared to the previous year, with many considering job changes in search of better pay.

The PwC workforce study indicates that 26% of workers are planning to switch employers in the next year, a rise from 19% last year. Additionally, 42% of workers are planning to demand pay raises to counterbalance the increased cost of living, up from 35% last year.

Bhushan Sethi, joint global leader of PwC’s people organization practice, stated, “With the ongoing economic uncertainty, we see a global workforce that wants more pay and more meaning from their work.”

The survey, which polled 54,000 workers across 46 countries, also revealed that the number of households struggling to pay bills every month or failing to pay bills most of the time has increased. The percentage of workers who reported that their household could not pay the bills most of the time doubled from 2% last year to 4% in 2023.

Moreover, the study found that financially struggling workers are less likely to seek new skill development opportunities and improve their performance at work compared to their financially secure counterparts. This divide could potentially hinder productivity and innovation for companies and exacerbate workers’ financial strain.

Bob Moritz, PwC global chair, said, “The global workforce is divided into two—those with valuable skills who are well set to keep learning and those without. We found that often those without the skills are less financially secure and less able to access training in the skills of the future.”

The study also criticized outdated recruitment practices, suggesting that focusing on qualifications rather than skills is failing to tap into valuable talent in a competitive job market. Adopting hiring practices that prioritize skills could potentially enable over 100 million people worldwide to secure higher-quality employment, according to recent research conducted by the World Economic Forum in partnership with PwC.

This report comes as recent labor market data shows a slight decrease in wage growth and a slight decline in average weekly hours, suggesting that the labor market is losing steam. Despite these challenges, American businesses continue to hire aggressively to meet resilient consumer demand.