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Middle aged workers are feeling the squeeze

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They take more sick leave than any other age group and 1 in 3 constantly feels stressed – and they haven’t yet hit 50. Workers aged 30-49 are facing a major health and wellbeing squeeze, which is directly affecting their workplace productivity.

New research* from AXA PPP healthcare has shown that this middle band of workers take more sick days than any other age group; averaging 2.3 sick days in the past six months. A quarter of these workers have taken 3 or 4 days off sick. Twelve per cent of this middle age group have taken the equivalent of a working week off sick (5 or 6 days) in the past six months, double the number  of 18-29 year olds (6 per cent) and just 5 per cent of those 50-69.

Middle AgedOther key findings from the research included: Middle aged workers are not taking positive steps to help ensure good health. One in five 30-49 year olds regularly skip meals altogether five or more days per week compared with 15 per cent of 18-29 year olds and just 8 per cent of those aged 50-69. These workers also demonstrate a fairly negative outlook with regards to their jobs. Fifteen per cent of 30-49 year olds feel they don’t have a career path, and 29 per cent of 30-49 year olds say they feel as if their career path has reached a plateau.

Twenty-seven percent of middle aged workers – the most of any age group – feel as if their employment situation does not allow them to pursue their top life priorities.

Furthermore, 38 per cent of middle aged workers feel stressed all or most of the time. The chief causes of stress for this age group are: financial worries (43 per cent) and pressure from or worries about work (41 and 38 per cent, respectively). Thirty-seven per cent of workers in their 30s say they feel older than their years.

Dr Steve Iley, AXA PPP healthcare’s medical director for health services, says: “Employers need to recognise that these middle aged workers are a particularly squeezed group, struggling with work and home pressures. The research suggests that many are not motivated or feeling valued in their work, an issue we would encourage employers to proactively address as the 30-49 age group are likely to have at least 20 years left in the workplace. Employers need to support their workers’ mental and physical health, offering positive steps to ensure wellbeing now will help to ensure resilience in future.”

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