With baby boomers exiting the work force and millennials comprising the largest portion of the employed population, the sandwiched members of Generation X might feel slightly neglected. Employers should still stay on top of their needs if they want to attract and retain these golden talents – people who have accumulated years of experience on the job yet relatively far away from retirement. To help their needs, Purchasing Power released the Guide to Generation X: Working with Them and Engaging Them where they discuss the most important perks and benefits Gen Xers are looking for in their employers.
Money Is (Still) King
Unsurprisingly and similar to other generations, pay and bonuses are two highly important benefits to most Gen Xers. Having made it past their uncertain 20s, many now live for financial stability, and a quarter reported to have stayed with a job for this very reason. It is hard not to, considering all their financial obligations, such as mortgages, car payments, childcare, and even children’s college tuitions (potentially on top of their own student loans).
Despite being a popular goal, financial stability is elusive and hard to achieve. In fact, half of Gen Xers reported not being able to make their monthly expense payments on time and not having enough savings for emergencies. This is where employers can help. Offering financial education programs at work will benefit all employees, from the “young invincible” millennials to the more mature Gen Xers. According to the report, if an employer offers financial education programs, 89% of Gen Xers would participate. Other greatly appreciated perks include 401(k) plans with matching benefits, employee purchase programs, and employee discount programs.
The Sandwich Generation
Being born between 1965 and 1979, Gen Xers are most likely to be caring for both children and aging parents. This is why they are also called the “sandwich generation.” For them to be able to take on both familial and work responsibilities, flexibility is a very attractive perk. Employers who understand these challenges and show empathy through flexible work schedules will score big with Gen Xers and improve their work/life balance. Other attractive perks to help them in this domain are paid time off (PTO), child care services, or other employee assistance programs (EAP).
The Only Way Is Up
Most Gen Xers have accumulated many years of experience and are now looking at leadership roles. As a result, education and advancement opportunities are just as significant to this generation as competitive pay and autonomy. Anticipating baby boomer retirements, senior management should prepare Gen Xers for leadership roles by offering development programs such as coaching or mentorship sessions.
“Help them grow in place. […] Providing opportunities for growth, paired with stability, will keep Generation X workers happy.”
- Guide to Generation X- Working with Them and Engaging Them Authors