With an ageing population, reduced pensions and an increasing retirement age, the well-known sandwich generation has been succeeded by a new special.
The ‘club sandwich generation’ are the latest addition to our workforce. They’re our experienced and talented employees, often in their 50s, 60s and 70s, who are now juggling caring for elderly parents while also supporting their grown up children and their grandchildren.
With not just three but four generations to support, caring is quickly becoming the workplace norm. In fact, an ICM poll revealed that one in five people are part of a four-generation family and this will rise to one in four by 2030.
The study also indicated that while growing numbers were expecting to contribute to their children and grandchildren’s care in the future, they were also expecting to contribute to the care of their parents too.
These findings and results from our own research reveal that the new club sandwich generation are being squeezed from all sides. Multiple pressures within the family unit mean they’re frequently the ones who are relied upon to support in unexpected breakdowns in care – and often assumed to have the time and the resource!
One ‘club sandwicher’, Deb, shares her experiences:
"I'm fortunate to be able to support my daughter with childcare for my grandson on a regular basis, far more than my mother was able to do for me as we live nearly 100 miles apart. Of course balancing childcare with my work commitments and distance caring for my 84 year old mother, who is fortunately very independent, can be a challenge from time to time. But my family always comes first, and my daughter and mother would struggle without the care I provide.”
The commitments and priorities for today’s modern families is clear and many forward-thinking employers are already starting to put the wheels in motion - finding solutions that support their employees and also their organisations.
This varies from back-up dependant care for children and adults, which provides peace of mind when unexpected breakdowns in care occur, to wellness programmes which provide some all-important ‘me time’ – a necessity for those juggling work and family life.
With a war on talent, employers are also reaping the rewards too in increased recruitment and retention. Employees are engaged, productive and confident in their role – three key drivers for business success.
I think that deserves a toast!