Gen X neon sign In recent years,employers have been focused on preparing for the impact of theboomer generation leaving the workforce, while also trying toattract and retain the millennial generation. (Photo:Shutterstock)

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A new national survey by MetLife finds that Gen X—workers between the ages 38 and 53—are akind of forgotten generation, a demographic of workers who are lesshappy in their jobs and more financially stressed.

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In recent years, employers have been focused on preparing forthe impact of the boomer generation leaving the workforce, whilealso trying to attract and retain the millennial generation.MetLife's Employee Benefit Trends Study said it seemsemployers have overlooked Gen X—a group that accounts for one thirdof the nation's workforce, or 53 million people.

Financial insecurity is higher among Gen X

The survey found that Gen X workers are more likely to feelunderappreciated at work and say they engage with their work atlower rates than millennials. In addition, Gen X respondents areless financially secure, according to the report.

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Related: Gen Xers are Gen AnXious about retirementsavings

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All generations listed personal finances as their top source ofstress, the survey found. But Gen X workers were more stressed—just59 percent of that generation of workers are confident in theirfinances, compared to 67 percent of millennials and 65 percent ofboomers. Gen X workers also have less in savings than boomers andmillennials, and nearly half (48 percent) said they live paycheckto paycheck.

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This lack of financial security carries over to engagement inthe workplace, the study said. When asked if they were happy atwork, lower numbers of Gen X workers (68 percent) said they were,compared with 75 percent of millennials and 74 percent of boomers.In addition, only 54 percent of Gen X workers felt empowered atwork and 62 percent said they felt respected in the workplace.

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“The combination of Gen X's financial stress with low engagementand the perceived lack of appreciation can have significantnegative repercussions across the workplace, and employers need totake this seriously,” said Todd Katz, executive vice president,Group Benefits at MetLife. “With record low unemployment andemployers competing in a war for talent, those who can understandtheir workforce's pain points will be best positioned to bothattract and retain experienced, highly skilled workers.”

Increasing engagement with better benefits

With Gen X making up such a large part of the workforce, thestudy recommends that employers pay more attention to benefits thatappeal to this generation. Financial wellness tools, for example,might be of particular value to these workers—although the studynoted all groups of workers can benefit from these products.

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Gen X workers are also hungry for opportunities in advancementand training. The survey found a gap between the kinds of trainingthat Gen X values and what employers offer. “Roughly two in threeGen X workers say their employers do not provide people managementand development skills training (68 percent) or learningopportunities to adapt to technology innovations (65 percent), yetonly 29 percent of employers consider upskilling current workers achallenge for them. This indicates employers may not fullyunderstand the desire from employees for more educationalopportunities,” the report said.

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