Since 2016, millennials have made up a larger share of the working population than baby boomers — and today, one in three Canadians of working age is a millennial, according to Charmaine Alexander, senior advisor in disability management at Desjardins Insurance, speaking during Benefits Canada’s 2023 Benefits & Pension Summit in June.
A recent survey published by Desjardins found 43 per cent of millennial respondents said they were thinking of quitting their jobs sometime in 2023, compared to 31 per cent of Canadians overall. And when millennials were asked how they felt about their work, nearly 75 per cent said they had burnout symptoms during the coronavirus pandemic — a number twice as high for respondents overall.
Another figure worth addressing, she said, is that 68 per cent of millennials said they’ve done just the bare minimum at work to preserve their health, while 40 per cent said they’re feeling disconnected from their work “This equates to about two in five people who — even today, after the pandemic is behind us — don’t feel motivation or value in their work.”
The survey found millennials are worried about money more than any other age group, said Alexander, noting their top five worries were inflation, high interest rates, rising energy costs, their financial situations and market volatility. They aren’t concerned about retirement, she added, but not because retirement isn’t important; they’re just focused on the present and how their futures are being compromised by what’s happening today.
Compared to their older colleagues, millennials are counting on their employers to contribute to their wellness, looking to their workplaces for the support and tools to help navigate this area so they can stay at their place of work, said Alexander. “According to the survey, 88 per cent of millennials think their company has a role to play in improving their financial health, while 78 per cent think their employer can help improve their mental health.”
The survey also highlighted what millennials expect from their employers with respect to group benefits plans. More than two-thirds (71 per cent) of respondents said these benefits are one of the reasons they stay at their jobs and nearly 80 per cent said they’d be more inclined to stay if they had a better benefits plan.
For plan sponsors looking to introduce new benefits and/or optimize what they already offer, Alexander suggested they create a work environment that’s based on diversity, equity and inclusion. According to Desjardins’ survey, 70 per cent of managers said DEI is very important, but only 15 per cent of employees said they believe anything is really being done around DEI in their workplaces. “There’s a big gap and a lot of opportunity to make sure we’re walking the walk and talking the talk.”
In terms of addressing millennials’ financial health and money worries, she noted plan sponsors can make sure their savings plans are more robust. “Millennials aren’t worried about retirement — they’re worried about the now. So focusing on registered savings plans that can help them buy their first home and/or a tax-free savings account are good ideas.”
Lastly, Alexandra said it’s very important that employers provide mental-health training to managers, supervisors and anyone else who assists employees. “We know that, before the pandemic, the initiatives put in place to improve employee mental health were evaluated. The results of this [survey] showed that the best return on investment came from organizations that invested in educating their managers and supervisors because they really hold special roles within the workplace.”
Read more coverage of the 2023 Benefits & Pension Summit.