The establishment of a new “currency” in South Africa, post-pandemic employment stability, is a significant finding from the 2022 Sanlam Benchmark Survey.
According to the yearly body of research on the state of retirement funds and retirees in South Africa, 55% of retirement fund members had seen a decrease in household income as a result of Covid-19, 58% had begun living simply and eliminating all luxuries, and 18.5 % had accessed some sort of long-term investment.
The Covid-19 outbreak and ensuing lockdowns resulted in the loss of up to three million jobs in South Africa, including both blue- and white-collar positions. According to Sanlam, South Africans' mental health has suffered as a result of the financial burden imposed on the recently jobless and the worry about losing their jobs.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that respondents to the 2022 Sanlam Benchmark Survey saw job and money as assets. According to the Benchmark Survey, companies have changed in reaction and are now more sympathetic to an employee's overall welfare.
The goal of the 2022 study, according to Kanyisa Mkhize, chief executive officer of Sanlam Corporate, is to look forward and determine how the retirement business can adapt to the drastically altered world. “As the greatest source of invested assets in the nation, the retirement industry is in a particularly strong position to affect South Africans' lives.”
Among the most important findings from the consumer survey were:
39 percent of those surveyed desired free medical consultations such as nutrition and psychology, and 51% wanted their company to provide free doctor or nurse consultations.
66 percent of respondents claimed that thinking about retirement and being ready to handle an emergency kept them up at night.
Key discoveries on the industrial side included:
53 percent of umbrella funds and 49 percent of employer funds agree that an integrated health and wellness program increases employee happiness and productivity.
In the past two years, clients' priorities have shifted in terms of what they are seeking for in terms of healthcare solutions for their employees, according to 13 of the 15 healthcare brokers who were questioned.
The necessity of gap coverage has risen, members' price sensitivity has led to a diminution in benefits, and hospital coverage is now prioritized over day-to-day benefits.
To provide members more alternatives, nine out of the fifteen healthcare brokers surveyed had added new medical scheme options in the past two years.
11 healthcare brokers said that customers “frequently” inquire about options for their problems.
During the epidemic, the retirement funds sector also experienced losses. Up to 27% of funds reported having stopped making donations to retirement accounts in 2020 as a result of the virus' financial impact. This lasted, on average, 4.5 months, although two funds said they had stopped accepting contributions for at least a year.
According to Sanlam's 2020 Benchmark Survey, 16 percent of retirement funds have members who asked for access to money while South Africa was under lockdown.
“The full effects of the Covid-19 catastrophe have permeated our industry and had a significant impact on our members. Not only monetarily, however,” Mkhize said. Covid was more than just a sobering reminder of how short our lives are; it also served as a lesson on the importance of not taking our work and mental health for granted. Overnight, a lot more of us came to understand what holistic health actually was and why it was important.
Recent research, like that done by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), supported the notion that the pandemic irreversibly changed “how we operate”. Employees want additional flexibility, including the option to work remotely, more frequent, contextualized, and personalized interactions, according to the study. People's decisions to remain in or leave an organization are directly influenced by these variables.