Employers are acknowledging a growing health and wellbeing issues among Gen X.
With years of experience and expertise, Generation X,* those born 1965 to 1976, and now between the ages of 43 and 54, form the backbone of most organisations, but GRiD, the industry body for the group risk protection sector, warns of growing health and wellbeing issues among this group, and the knock-on effects for employers in how to support them.**
Their latest research confirms:
- 40% of employers believe that stress & anxiety related to home life, including managing difficult relationships and caring responsibilities, is affecting their Gen X staff – more than any other demographic.
- 37% of employers worry that ill-health related to lifestyle is affecting their Gen X staff – more than any other demographic.
- 35% of employers worry that a general lack of fitness caused by a non-active lifestyle/sedentary working is affecting their Gen X staff – more than any other demographic.
- After millennials, Gen X staff is the demographic that employers believe is the most likely to suffer from stress & anxiety relating to work.
- Similarly, after millennials, Gen X staff is the group employers think are most likely to be stressed by finances.
- Finally, second only to baby boomers, employers worry that Gen X have a high tendency to suffer from chronic health conditions.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said: “Gen X is the group that is least likely to have time to look after themselves properly, and most likely to use bad habits such as smoking, drinking or food to prop themselves up. A strong work ethic means they are split between busy work and home lives and caring responsibilities for children and parents. Still with substantial financial commitments, many will feel that all areas of their lives cause stress and anxiety.
“While this is a fairly dire outlook for the employees themselves, it’s not good news for their employers either. If staff need to take time off to recuperate or recover, physical or mentally, it can leave a substantial hole in a business or organisation, as at this stage in their lives, Gen Xers are often key decision makers.”
GRiD believes that Generation X could well be the forgotten demographic in terms of employee benefits. Employers are often quick to highlight their on-trend benefits for younger staff but Generation X are at risk of being easily overlooked.
Katharine Moxham continued: “As with every other demographic, it’s just as important that this group is supported holistically, with adequate resources split between their physical health, mental health and financial health. However, a Gen X worker may be the most likely person to duck out of an employee benefits meeting at the last minute or have the least time to log into a company benefits platform, because they are being pulled in a thousand and one directions. Employers need to box clever to ensure this generation receives appropriate, bite-sized information that they’ll find timely, appropriate, relevant and ultimately, able to act upon.”
Engage early with relevant benefits
As ever, the earlier issues are addressed the better, so engaging this group in employee benefits that are going to make the most difference to them is key. This means providing direct support for the specific issues they deal with, such as:
- Finding eldercare or how to deal with childcare issues, such as bullying
- Physical health, access to GP services, physio and rehabilitation
- Mental health, access to counselling, mental health first aiders
- Financial health, debt management or financial support in the event of ill-health
Moxham concluded: “Gen X is a valuable demographic in today’s workforce, bringing a wealth of expertise, knowledge and commitment. It’s vital that their specific needs are considered when employers are looking to engage them, and that they’re offered access to benefits that truly support them in the very real issues they deal with.”
*For the purposes of GRiD’s research, the age ranges for each generation were as follows:
- Generation Z: 18-23
- Millennials / Generation Y: 24-42
- Generation X: 43-54
- Baby Boomers: 55-73
**Research undertaken by Opinium on behalf of GRiD amongst 500 HR Decision makers between 4-18 March 2019.