Employers are more concerned about the physical and mental health of baby boomers than other generations in the workplace, according to new research.
Group Risk Development (Grid) found that concerns for health and wellbeing increase with age. Employees have least concerns about Generation Z employees, but this rises steadily with millennials and then Generation X workers, peaking with the baby boomers.
The surveyed asked employers about six key areas of health and wellbeing and how they affect these different generations.The findings show that baby boomers are the generation that they are most concerned about across all these areas.
Baby boomers general lack of fitness caused by a non-active lifestyle and sedentary working was the biggest concern, cited by 32 per cent of employers. However, concerns for Generation X and millennials was not far behind in this category.
There were also concerns that more baby boomers were living with long-term chronic illness of health conditions, such as diabetes, when compared to other age groups. Here this was cited by 31 per cent of employers. Just 21 per cent said they had these concerns about Generation Z employees.
Employers were also more likely to be worried about lifestyle factors – be it obesity, smoking, alcohol dependence – impacting the health of baby boomers, than there were with other age groups.
These concerns also relate to the mental health of baby boomer employees.
Stress and anxiety relating to home life — such as caring responsibilities and managing difficult relationships — was a concern of employers for the baby boomer generation (26 per cent). Just 17 per cent said this was a concern for Generation Z employees.
There were also concerns about stress and anxiety related to work as well as stress and as well as stress and anxiety related to finances and debt. Surprisingly employers were more worried about baby boomers in this category than younger workers.
Although the research was carried out prior to the Covid-19 situation being on the radar of almost any UK employer or employee, Grid believes that the stress and anxiety of employees will only have increased at this time, as the far-reaching implications of the pandemic have taken affect.
Grid spokesperson Katharine Moxham says: “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.”
Many businesses will find that their baby boomer generation remains committed to working for longer than many employers had perhaps expected. One factor keeping this generation in the workplace is that some will not be able to afford to retire – with potential pressures on both house prices and retirement income after the pandemic, this could increasingly become the case.
Moxham adds: “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 have long included support for such concerns and are a great help for employers looking at how best to support all their staff.”