Meeting the evolving needs of the sandwich generation

Mother hugging child

How can we better support these employees in the workplace?

As workforce demographics continue to evolve, employers face the challenge of understanding and addressing the unique needs of their employees. One group that requires special attention is the "sandwich generation" – people who find themselves caring for their aging parents and their own children simultaneously.


Taking a closer look at the sandwich generation

A recent survey conducted by New York Life's Wealth Watch uncovered some interesting insights into the growing sandwich generation.

Demographic shifts: 

Millennials represent 66% of self-reported caregivers. Hispanic representation has increased to 25% of sandwich generation adults, up from 15% in 2020. 

They’re spending significant time caring for family: 

Surveyed adults report spending 50 hours per week caregiving, with women caregivers experiencing higher emotional and mental strain, and less financial confidence than men.

Many are struggling financially

Almost half (47%) of those surveyed say they have faced financial hardship due to caregiving expenses, reporting that their household was unable to meet essential expenses due to the costs of caregiving.

Responsibilities are taking a toll on their own mental health

95% of sandwich generation adults say caregiving has affected an area of their life. In addition to financial pressures noted above, they cite impacts on mental health/stress (44%), and their social lives (44%).


A few ways that we can better help these employees

Employers play a vital role in helping sandwich-generation employees navigate their caregiving challenges. Here are a few recommendations to consider:

  • Build a strong empathy culture: With increasing numbers of Millennial and Hispanic sandwich-generation caregivers, employers should adapt their support systems to meet the distinct expectations and cultural nuances of these growing populations. 
  • Enable flexible work arrangements: Creating flexibility in work schedules or providing remote work options to accommodate employees’ caregiving responsibilities can help them better manage their time, reduce stress, and build loyalty.
  • Offer robust employee assistance programs (EAPs): Counseling services and work-life resources can help employees navigate the emotional and mental strain associated with caregiving.
  • Provide financial education and planning: Employees who gain an understanding of their budgets, savings, and finances can also create long-term financial strategies that include their caregiving responsibilities.

Wealth Watch is a survey that New York Life will continue to repeat to track Americans’ financial goals, progress toward those goals and feelings about their ability to secure their financial futures, identifying key themes and trends that are emerging about topics like retirement planning, the role of protection-oriented solutions and the importance of financial guidance.