Partnering for the Win: How Employers and Benefits Providers Can Succeed With Gen Z

The Standard’s Research on Generation Z shows how carriers can secure this group’s loyalty over the long term, also yielding benefits for the employers who work with them.

A recent survey from The Standard found that Gen Z wants what other generations want: near- and long-term financial security. They highly value health insurance and retirement plans, with 93% of respondents saying a retirement savings plan is important to them. Gen Z’s focus on traditional benefits means employers can emphasize core offerings without necessarily investing in costly new programs.

Saving is key for Gen Z. A large majority (79%) ranks their top financial goal as saving and 55% value auto-enrollment in a 401(k)-type plan. While not a new economic aspiration, Gen Z’s strong interest in saving opens avenues for innovation that could help employers recruit and keep talent from this age group.

One opportunity lies in the level of personal financial help Gen Z wants from employers. This age group expects the companies they work for to step into roles historically occupied by banks and credit unions. Seventy-three percent of Gen Z members consider emergency savings accounts a “very or extremely valuable” benefit. Almost a third say they’d value emergency loans from employers.

But members of Gen Z aren’t looking for employers to do everything. Rather, they want a mentor to offer solutions they can use to strengthen their financial lives. This age group’s desire for help improving their financial literacy is an example. Over a third view financial education as a valuable employee benefit.

The Standard’s study also shows Gen Z holds benefits and retirement plan providers to a higher standard when it comes to addressing societal challenges. Sixty-one percent say a commitment to social issues is very important in their decision to buy or enroll in a benefits provider’s products or services. Nearly half say the same thing about retirement plan providers (48%). Gen Z sets a lower bar for banks (31%), credit card companies (19%) and clothing or fashion brands (15%).

By expecting more from benefits and retirement plan providers, Gen Z may be signaling they trust them to do more. In essence, members of this generation may perceive providers to be the good guys.

The higher standard for benefits and retirement plan providers, coupled with Gen Z's desire that employers help them improve their personal finances, points to potential rewards. Carriers that seize the opportunity to partner with this cohort on financial security will foster this generation’s affinity, leading to greater product uptake and persistence. Employers working with these carriers will also gain by attracting and retaining Gen Z talent.

For more insights on this topic, visit Beyond Benefits, Gen Z Wants a Mentor.

Gen Z Survey

On behalf of The Standard, a third-party research firm conducted a 20-minute survey of 1,250 Gen Z full-time workers (or soon-to-be workers). Survey participants were:

  • Ages 18 to 26
  • Full-time employed, in their final year of college, expecting to be full-time employed post-graduation or in graduate school

The study includes oversamples of Black (n=273) and Hispanic (n=271) Gen Z members weighted to correct proportions in overall data.

The survey was offered in English or Spanish

Field dates: Aug. 7 to 24, 2023

About The Standard

The Standard is a family of companies dedicated to helping customers achieve financial well-being and peace of mind. In business since 1906, we are a leading provider of financial protection products and services for employers and individuals. Our products include group and individual disability insurance, group life, dental and vision insurance, voluntary (employee-paid) benefits, absence management and paid family leave services, and retirement plans and annuities for employers and individuals. For more information about The Standard, visit or follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn.

The Standard is the marketing name for StanCorp Financial Group, Inc., and its subsidiaries: Standard Insurance Company, The Standard Life Insurance Company of New York, Standard Retirement Services, Inc., StanCorp Mortgage Investors, Inc., StanCorp Investment Advisers, Inc., StanCorp Real Estate, LLC, and StanCorp Equities, Inc.


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