The price of higher education, a lack of job prospects and slow wage growth weigh heaviest on American workers, a new study has found.
The concerns were consistent across millennials, Gen-Xers and baby boomers who also want employers to provide access to financial products and education, the Prudential Financial American Workers Survey found.
“It’s not a secret anymore that employers are looked to to provide guidance, and it’s appropriate given that employees have a lot more responsibility for retirement,” said Salene Hitchcock Gear, president of Prudential Advisors.
A 401(k) retirement plan or a high-deductible health plan shifts the financial responsibility onto workers to a much greater degree than a defined benefit pension or an indemnity health plan on which workers traditionally relied.
While education debt burdens and stagnant wage growth generate headlines, an expanding economy has cut unemployment to lows not seen in decades.
Survey respondents could be reacting to the fact that jobs don’t pay as well as they used to or that many people need to work two or even three jobs to maintain a decent standard of living, Hitchcock Gear said.
Prudential engaged research firm Morning Consult to survey 2,278 part-time and full-time workers in February.
Big Opportunity for Advisors
More than three-quarters – 76 percent – of workers believe employers have a role in providing access and opportunities to help employees succeed, the survey found.
Whether employers offer access to financial products and retirement savings plans, health and wellness programs, job training, financial education or tuition reimbursement and loan repayment, it’s advisors who cement the link between employer and employee.
“It starts with the HR team thinking of the employee base and how best to get information across to them (employees),” said Hitchcock Gear said.
Advisors operating remotely might respond to employee online or telephone queries, or advisors may come in once a week for seminars or brown-bag lunch sessions – all those solutions are relatively easy for employers to provide.
“It’s probably a combination of all of those things and around the industry, employers are thinking that through and finding ways to bridge the gaps,” she said.
Millennials said the biggest barriers to progress for young adults 18-22 were higher education costs (46 percent), slow wage growth (40 percent) and lack of job prospects (39 percent), the survey found.
Generation Xers said the biggest barriers were slow wage growth (50 percent), costs of higher education (42 percent) and lack of job prospects (40 percent).
Baby boomers pointed to the biggest hurdles as slow wage growth (53 percent), lack of job prospects (38 percent) and credit card debt (36 percent).
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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