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    May-2017
 
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Younger Workers Are Concerned About Job Security

The fear of job loss has nearly doubled from one in four younger employees who responded to a Mercer study.

In the survey, nearly one in two respondents said they had considered delaying retirement compared to one in five respondents in prior surveys..

Amid high U.S. unemployment and against the backdrop of a volatile economy, workers 18-34 years old are increasingly concerned about job loss and having to delay retirement, according to the 2011 Mercer Workplace Survey.

The survey is considered a nationally representative sampling of employees enrolled in their employers’ 401(k) and health plans. The Mercer Workplace Survey is conducted annually by Mercer’s U.S. Outsourcing business.

Nearly half of these young workers (48%) are concerned they may lose their job in the next 12 months (compared to 42% of the general population), and more than one-third (34%) have considered delaying retirement past their original target age.

Both of these figures are the highest recorded for this age group and mark statistically significant increases since 2007. (See Tables 1 and 2). The increases for this younger population are also greater than for the population overall.

Table 1:  How concerned are you that you may lose your job in the next 12 months?

“Very or somewhat concerned”

 

Jul-11

Jun-10

Jun-08

Jul-07

Ages 18-34

48%

31%

32%

26%

Total population

42%

36%

32%

27%

Table 2:  In the past 12 months have you considered delaying your retirement beyond your original target date, or haven’t you? “Have considered”

 

Jul-11

Jun-10

Jun-08

Jul-07

Ages 18-34

34%

23%

22%

19%

Total population

42%

35%

32%

31%

“Given the fact that this younger generation has felt firsthand the effects of the recession, ongoing layoffs, benefit cutbacks and high unemployment, it is not surprising that so many of these same workers are concerned about their own job security and have considered delaying retirement,” said Suzanne Nolan, partner and director of marketing and communications for Mercer’s U.S. Outsourcing business. “The fact that their concern is equal to or even higher than their older colleagues speaks to how unsettling these past few years have been for younger workers.”

This bleak outlook of younger workers does have a positive upside, however, in terms of increased retirement savings. In fact, for the first time participants ages 18-34 have a higher average annual expected contribution to their 401(k) plans than the total population (See Table 3).

Table 3: Not counting any contributions your employer may make to your 401(k) plan over the next 12 months, how much money, if any, do you expect to put into your 401(k) plan? “Average planned contribution”

 

Jul-11

Jun-10

Jun-08

Jul-07

Ages 18-34

$8,453

$6,314

$6,198

$5,782

Total population

$7,445

$6,440

$6,565

$6,374

Source – Mercer Workplace Survey

“One of the resounding themes evident throughout this year’s Mercer Workplace Survey is that across all age brackets, retirement savers are feeling a heightened sense of personal accountability and responsibility for a successful retirement, and these younger workers are no exception,“ Nolan said. “Employees seem to be trying to take control of all that they can now, given their uncertainty about the future. Retirement plan sponsors and administrators should take advantage of this commitment and focus by further building targeted education and engagement efforts for this important group of long-term retirement savers.”

About the Mercer Workplace Survey™

The Mercer Workplace Survey tracks employee attitudes toward, and experiences with, employer-sponsored retirement, health and benefits programs.  To download the 2011 Mercer Workplace Survey Executive Summary, please visit http://www.mercer.com/mws-execsummary.


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