What Benefits Matter Most to Gen Xers?
Once called the “slacker generation,” Generation X adults born between 1965 and 1979 are now active, happy and achieving a work–life balance, according to Purchasing Power’s “Guide to Generation X- Working with Them and Engaging Them.”
The report details want Gen Xers want most from their employer and the perks and benefits that are most important to them.
Aside from a good salary, the “sandwich generation” caring for both children and aging parents desires a flexible workplace in terms of both work location and hours, including paid vacation and sick days. This also bodes well for their philosophy, “work to live rather than live to work,” and their “work hard, play hard” attitude. They are also value more independence on the job than younger generations.
“They believe in accumulating skills by taking on differing projects,” the authors write. “Their greatest fear is being overshadowed by Millennials and being overlooked for promotions. Keys to job retention for Generation X are salary, autonomy, independence and promotion, promotion, promotion!”
Pay and bonuses are the benefits that matters most to Gen Xers, followed by paid time off and retirement plans, according to the report. In addition, about one-fourth (24%) say the desire for financial stability motivates them to stay in a job.
Key priorities for perks and benefits include childcare, flexibility, financial protection and education, wellbeing support and dental insurance. Additionally, Gen Xers value salary level, a 401K plan with matching benefits, job security, advancement within the company, and opportunities for work-life balance.
“With half of Gen Xers not being able to make their monthly expense payments on time and not having enough in savings for emergencies that can arise, financial wellness is a real concern for this generation,” the authors write. “This presents an opportunity for employers.”
Indeed, if offered financial education programs at work, 89% of Gen Xers would participate in them, according to the report. They are also appreciative of employee purchase programs and employee discount programs.
“Probably the most important is to provide competitive pay,” the authors write. “Although money isn’t their biggest motivator, it’s definitely a factor, especially considering their stage in life, with responsibilities such as home ownership, parenthood and even children entering college.”
Senior management should also prepare Gen Xers for leadership roles, as more and more baby boomers retire. However, transitioning into these roles can be a challenge “to their often independent, self-reliant nature,” so employers should invest now in leadership programs, particularly individualized coaching or mentorship sessions, so the transition can go more smoothly for everyone.
“Help them grow in place,” the authors write. “Providing opportunities for growth, paired with stability, will keep Generation X workers happy.”