In senior living, the focus often is on the Silent Generation and members of the Baby Boom — current and upcoming residents. When it comes to employment, attracting millennials garners much attention, perhaps because they are some of the newest potential employees.

When MetLife released its 17th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study last week, however, the financial services company said that members of Generation X, now aged 38 to 53, account for one-third of the U.S. workforce yet often are overlooked.

“The impacts of this neglect are real,” the company said.

Gen X members, compared with members of other generations in the workplace, are the least happy generation of employees at work and the least likely to have a savings cushion of three months of salary, according to survey results. They also are more likely than millennials to believe that their employers are not providing them with timely promotions, exposure to senior leadership and meaningful work projects, MetLife said.

“Employers can no longer overlook Gen X, especially since they are the most likely generation to say they will never retire and may remain in the workforce for the next 30 or more years,” the company said.

At a time when recruiting and retaining employees is the top challenge for the senior living industry, operators can’t afford to ignore members of any age group. In fact, appealing to members of Gen X when other employers are ignoring them may give senior living operators a competitive advantage.

To attract and keep Gen X workers, MetLife suggests:

  • Examining the benefits you offer. When asked to decide between better benefits or more flexibility, 57% of Gen X workers chose better benefits, compared with 48% of millennials who made that choice. Benefits such as paid leave, financial wellness programs, legal plans, supplementary health and disability insurance provide resources as well as the necessary financial security to prevent long-term hardships, MetLife said.
  • Scrutinizing your training programs. Approximately two-thirds of Gen X workers say their employers do not provide people management and development skills training (68%) or learning opportunities to adapt to technology innovations (65%), yet only 29% of employers believe that increasing the skills of current workers is a challenge for them.

“Employers have an opportunity to foster engagement among these employees and make them feel valued unlike ever before,” Todd Katz, executive vice president, group benefits, at MetLife, said in a statement. “By building workplaces that address all employees’ needs, employers can build a more loyal and productive workforce.”