Baby boomers' wellbeing worries employers most

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Employers are more concerned about the health and wellbeing of baby boomers than they are about any other generation in the workplace, across all areas of physical and mental health, research by Group Risk Development (GRiD) from before Covid-19 has suggested.

The study of 500 HR decision-makers in January showed that the general lack of fitness of baby boomers - those aged 56-74 - was the biggest worry for employers (32%), due to non-active lifestyles and sedentary working conditions. However their concerns for generation X (29%) and millennials (30%) were not far behind, while only 23% were worried about generation Z in this area.

The second-highest concern for baby boomers were long-term chronic illness of health conditions such as diabetes (31%), while employers had some concerns for generation X (28%), millennials (27%) - less so for generation Z (21%).

Ill-health related to lifestyle, such as obesity, smoking and alcohol dependence, among baby boomers was also a key concern for employers (30%), compared to 27% for generation X, 26% for millennial employees and 18% for gen Z.

Stress and anxiety

Employers were equally worried about the mental health of the baby boomer generation, with stress and anxiety related to home life, such as caring responsibilities and relationships, their top concern for baby boomers (26%). Compared to 24% for generation Z, 20% for millennials and only 17% for generation Z.

Work-related stress for baby boomers worried 25% of employers, over and above generation X (23%), millennials (17%) and generation Z (16%).

Meanwhile, the financial worries of baby boomers also concerned employers (24%) more so than other generation, with as little as 8% worried about generation Z.

While the research was carried out prior to the coronavirus pandemic, GRiD's view is that these concerns will still be weighing heavily on the minds of employers, and arguably more so.

'Twists and turns'

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Group Risk Development (GRiD) said:"It's hugely important that employee support is provided holistically with adequate resources split between physical, mental, financial and social health, as no-one can predict the twists and turns that an individual's life may take.

"Many employers rightly appreciate the specific issues their baby boomer employees face. This group will have worked hard over many decades and many employers will feel a particular responsibility to this group as their lives become more complex."

GRiD added that another factor keeping baby boomers in the workplace is that some will not be able to afford to retire - something which could worsen due to potential pressures on both house prices and retirement income after the pandemic.

Moxham continued:"Whilst the baby boomer generation is the one that most concerns employers, it is important that all generations are supported, and across all areas of concern - financial, physical, social and emotional. Group risk products (employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness) have long included support for such concerns and are a great help for employers looking at how best to support all their staff."

 

This article was written by Adam Saville from Cover Magazine and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.