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Brief Published: 20 Oct 2021

Supporting Gen X Women in the Workplace

Navigating caregiving responsibilities as well as bodily changes piles pressure onto midlife women

New studies expose both the pressures on, and progress of, female employees from Gen X (born 1965 to 1980). Often likened to a “forgotten middle child” between millennials and boomers, this cohort is flexing their growing financial power – yet also requires greater support when it comes to wellness and work/life balance.

  • Feeling the Squeeze: As well as being far outnumbered by millennials and boomers in the workforce, Gen X women are the first generation to be caregivers for both their children and ageing parents. Employers should be mindful of the risks of burnout for this put-upon cohort, embracing flexi-working policies and meaningful mental health support packages.
  • Wellness x Work: New research in Ireland reveals that a whopping 90% of women have been affected by menopause symptoms at work and, of those who took time off as a result, 63% didn’t inform their employer of the real reason (INMO, 2021).

    Normalising and acknowledging women’s midlife wellness needs are key in order to tackle what’s been dubbed “the last workplace taboo”. Note the new employee support policy at British fashion etailer ASOS, which offers 10 days' paid leave for staff experiencing menospause, fertility treatment and pregnancy loss.
  • Becoming Breadwinners: In the US, almost one-third (32%) of Gen X and millennial women are now their households’ primary breadwinner – one and a half times higher than older generations (Wells Fargo, 2021).

    However, despite their growing spending power, the same survey revealed that 39% of this cohort find financial concepts intimidating. Three-quarters of respondents believe access to a financial advisor would prove helpful, and 77% wish to take charge of their children’s financial education. In New Money Mindsets, we explore the opportunity for midlife money management tools.

To better understand Gen X’s needs, see Midlife Renewal and Parenting Gets Real, both part of Stylus’ Post-Covid Consumer Life Cycle. And look out for Enlightened Employers (publishing November 5) for more on workplace wellbeing.