It found that flexible working was the top response for employer intervention to improve workplace wellbeing for brokers

Brokers that work for national networks are more likely to experience a mental health issue as opposed to those working for regional and provincial brokerages.

Stress was found to affect three in five brokers and it continues to be the most common experienced mental health issue at work – with heavy workloads being the biggest contributor for four out of five brokers (82%) citing this. But the figure increases to 98% for national brokers.

This is in direct contrast to Ecclesiastical’s first ’Broker Wellbeing Survey’ that launched for last year which found that one in five brokers had contemplated leaving the industry due to stress. 

It found that more than two-thirds of brokers have experienced a mental health issue linked to work over the last 12 months.

Ecclesiastical is working with Chris Moon – a former army officer and the first double amputee runner in an ultra-marathon across the Sahara. He is now a speaker who helps individuals and companies with a range of topics including mindfulness, change management and resilience.

Moon and Ecclesiastical are producing a series of films aimed at helping brokers recognise and manage workplace stress – it is due for release early next year.

Contributing factors

This year’s survey looked at 200 brokers, with stress as a main contributor, this was closely followed by anxiety (37%) and feeling overwhelmed (34%).

But the volume of regulation and compliance (67%), customer demands (59%) and pressure to hit targets (56%) were the next main contributors.

Ecclesiastical initially launched the survey last year to encourage greater dialogue in the industry and help reduce the stigma about mental health issues in the workplace.

Adrian Saunders, commercial director at Ecclesiastical, said: “At Ecclesiastical, we’re committed to understanding what matters most to our brokers. Our ’Broker Wellbeing Survey’ has revealed that three in five brokers feel stressed at work, with workload being the main contributor which I’m sure won’t come as a great surprise to any of us.

“There are encouraging signs in our research that the issue of mental health is being taken more seriously. Nearly three-quarters of brokers believe their organisation is committed to improving wellbeing in the workplace and many businesses are making changes to improve wellbeing in the workplace.”

Coping mechanisms

Ecclesiastical said that while more than two thirds say they have experienced a mental health issue during the last year, almost all (98%) take no time off to deal with it.

This could be because the vast majority of brokers – nine in every 10  –  are confident that they can recognise the signs of poor mental health in themselves and feel they have the tools and techniques to cope with everyday stresses.

Flexible working

When asked what measures their employer had introduced in the year to improve wellbeing in the workplace, the introduction of flexible working was the top response, with two in five firms introducing this change.

Guidance on how to deal with stress, counselling support and mental health awareness training for managers and staff were the next most popular. One in five brokers also mentioned the introduction of yoga and other healthy activities.

Nearly three-quarters of brokers (71%) believe that their organisation is improving wellbeing in the workplace, while nearly the same number (69%) believe their organisation is supportive of people with mental illness.

Three out of four brokers who have suffered a mental health issue said they felt able to report it to their manager but the majority (54%) did not as they felt able to cope with it.

Saunders added; “I’m pleased to see that awareness of mental health issues among brokers is high, thanks to media coverage and BIBA shining a spotlight on the issue. Our research suggests that understanding lags behind, but the industry is making positive strides towards real change.”