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Gen X least satisfied cohort at work

A third (34%) of Gen X workers feel they lack development opportunities

Generation X, aged between 41 and 56, are the least satisfied age group at work, with 16% believing they do not have a ‘good’ job, according to hiring platform Indeed.

Danny Stacy, UK head of talent intelligence at the global hiring platform Indeed said the definition of a good job usually includes fair pay and flexible working.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “While the definition of good work is deeply subjective, our research reveals a number of must-haves the average UK worker seeks when looking for a better job. 

“Unsurprisingly, receiving fair pay strongly resonates with workers, many of whom are only now beginning to experience real wage growth. The continued desire for flexibility also points to the growing expectation that employers design jobs that allow better work/life balance.”

Read more: Career breaks diminish older workers' confidence

The study also found 34% of Gen X said they have a lack of development opportunities, higher than the average for all workers (29%).

They are also more disconnected from their work, with just 34% feeling their job is tied to their identity – the lowest score of any age group.

Jackie Handy, inclusive leadership specialist, said employers should encourage workers to continue to train and upskill to avoid a loss of confidence as the workplace evolves.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: “The desire to train and upskill is linked to the overall value an employee believes they have within an organisation. Organisations should be highlighting how such investment helps employees move from good to great, rather than bad to good. 

“Don’t underestimate what employees already bring to the table, instead complement their contributions and show how further development will equip them for the changing needs in their role.” 

Over a third (37%) of Gen X employees say their age is stopping them from getting a better job.

Age is also a factor for Gen Z workers (16 to 24-year-olds), who say their lack of experience (40%), lack of confidence (33%) and age (28%) are stopping them from getting a better job. 

Stacy said: “It’s clear that jobseekers face a range of barriers connecting to better work. Most notably, the belief that age is a limiting factor, which is felt by both young and older workers, suggests anxieties around a lack of experience at one end and potentially age discrimination at the other.”

Read more: Boomers, millennials, Gen Z: Do generational labels do more harm than good?

He added that older workers are often subjected to negative stereotypes in the workplace which knock their confidence.

He said: “It’s common for older workers to experience negative stereotypes, such as the perception that they are less adaptable, have limited technological competence, are less trainable and more resistant to change. 

“While these generalisations are unfounded, the presence and perpetuation of them will undoubtedly shape these workers’ perceptions that there is a lack of opportunities available to them.”

The survey was carried out by Censuswide on behalf of Indeed using 5,012 workers in the UK. The survey was in the field between 27 July and 11 August 2023.