With a Wide Range of Age Demographics in the Workforce, Flexibility is Key to Recruiting, Retaining Employees

May 1, 2023

There is currently a wide range of ages in the workforce — people with a variety of backgrounds and beliefs — so it can be tough to create a culture that all want to be part of. Thankfully, useful trends are emerging.

To compete for employees in 2022, companies had to offer exorbitant salaries, which can weigh on the bottom line over the long term. In a good economy and a tight labor market, skilled employees know their worth and will still strive for a higher salary, but not all are motivated solely by money.

For some, the quest for larger salaries is being replaced by the pursuit of attractive benefits packages, and each age group has its own set of wants and needs.

What benefits are sought?

Baby boomers (those born between 1946-1964) and Generation X (born between 1965-1980) are in the later stages of their careers and lives, so they have different needs than millennials (born between 1981-1995) and Generation Z (born between 1996-2012), who are young adults early in their careers.

Perhaps as expected, baby boomers have an eye on life after full-time work. They are most interested in health care benefits, long-term care and protecting their retirement savings.

Gen Xers are likely planning for retirement, which might still be more than a decade away. After working hard for many years, they want work-life balance and help planning for their child’s college education.

Many employers have offered retirement benefits for years. Appealing to younger generations with enhanced benefit options is where it gets interesting.

Many millennials are starting families and paying for student loans, so they want assistance with those expenses, along with substantial parental leave and family support resources. Half of millennials consider fertility and family planning a core component of their benefits package, according to data internal to Oswald Companies.

A large portion of Gen Z employees may still be on their parents’ insurance plan when they enter the workforce, so traditional benefits aren’t yet a primary focus. They are focused on overall well-being, with an emphasis on emotional, physical and financial wellness.

In addition to health savings accounts and wellness programs, some employers are getting even more creative with their perks and benefits. Bonus perks often provide employees with an experience, such as paid gym memberships, streaming services, massages and food subscriptions. These enhanced benefits are a great way for employers to differentiate themselves in a competitive labor market.

Prioritizing flexibility and mental fitness

While employees of various age groups differ in their priorities, two benefits wishes seem to be consistent among all and are here to stay: mental health resources and workplace flexibility.

A staggering 85% of U.S. workers believe the availability of behavioral health services is important when evaluating a new job opportunity. It’s no wonder, either: in a recent study by Guardian Life, 75% of workers cited stress and burnout as their biggest mental health challenges.

That could be why employees are so committed to a flexible work schedule, which reduces the stress of commuting and helps people better juggle their home and family lives. In a 2022 study by Guardian, 60% of employees reported they want to work remotely in some way. Four in 10 employees say they have switched jobs or would for more flexibility.

With employees in the driver’s seat and making new demands on benefits, it’s a challenging time for employers. Oswald’s employee benefits team can help design a well-rounded, competitive benefits package to help you protect your greatest asset — your employees.

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