Employers are more concerned about the health and wellbeing of baby boomers than they are any other generation in the workplace, new research reveals.
Generally defined as people born from 1946 to 1964, during the post–World War II baby boom, baby boomers are fast approaching retirement. Nevertheless, they are the generation that employers worry about most when it comes to health and wellbeing, according to a poll carried out for trade body Group Risk Development (GRiD).
In fact, the research shows that employers’ concern for the health and wellbeing of staff actually increases with employees’ age. Employers have least concerns for their Generation Z employees. Their concerns rise to a greater degree for millennials and Generation X, and peak for baby boomers.
Baby boomers’ general lack of fitness the biggest concern
The poll, which garnered insights from 500 HR decision makers before the COVID-19 outbreak, found that baby boomers’ general lack of fitness, caused by non-active lifestyles and sedentary working conditions, was the biggest worry for employers (32%). However, employer concerns about the general lack of fitness of Generation X employees (29%) and millennials (30%) were not far behind, while only 23% were worried about Generation Z in this area.
The second highest concern for employers relating to their baby boomer employees was long-term chronic illness or health conditions, such as diabetes (31%). Employers were also concerned in this area for their Generation X employees (28%) and millennials (27%), but it wasn’t quite as big a worry for Generation Z (21%).
Ill-health related to lifestyle, such as obesity, smoking and alcohol dependence, was the third most pressing concern for employers about their baby boomer employees (30%). While more than a quarter (27%) also said they are worried about this for their Generation X employees and 26% for their millennial employees, just 18% were for their Generation Zers.
Employee support needs to be holistic and cover all areas of concern
Stress and anxiety relating to home life, such as caring responsibilities and managing difficult relationships, was the top concern cited by 26% of employers when asked about the mental health of their baby boomers. This number was lower for Generation X (24%), millennials (20%) and Generation Z (17%).
Speaking about the research, GRiD spokesperson and group risk specialist Katharine Moxham 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.”
While the baby boomer generation is the one that employers are most concerned about, it is important that it’s not the only generation considered when employee benefits and group risk are being discussed.
Employers need to be doing all they can to support all generations in their workforce and across all areas of concern – financial, physical, social and emotional.
Claire Ginnelly is the Managing Director of Premier Choice Health and has been in the private medical insurance industry since 1991. All her experience has been gained working for large insurance companies managing the distribution of health insurance products through intermediaries. She has held senior positions within Standard Life Healthcare, as Head of Intermediary Sales, and Groupama Healthcare, as Head of Distribution.