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Automation, gig work among greatest worries for millennials

Today’s young workers believe that major changes are in store when it comes to work and retirement, and they’re far from optimistic about any of it.

A new report, “The 80-Year-Old Millennial,” found that the majority of millennials believe that traditional employment will eventually be replaced almost entirely by freelancers or independent contractors. Whether those freelance gigs will even be available to them is a cause of concern: 75 percent say they are worried that jobs will become scarce as a result of increasingly sophisticated robots.

Millennials are also concerned that the health and retirement benefits that their parents’ generation counted on will eventually fade away. Seventy-two percent say they are nervous that their jobs will eventually phase out health coverage and 401(k) plans and 83 percent are worried that they’re not going to get a fair return on the money they are putting into Social Security right now.

Seventy-nine percent say that it’s likely that “people will no longer be able to retire comfortably in the future.”

More ominously, a majority of millennials doubt that the “American Dream” is possible anymore. Fifty-three percent say their generation is unlikely to fare better economically than their parents’ generation.

The report concludes with advice for employers trying to assuage the concerns of a generation of workers that are stressed about money. If companies aren’t willing to pay workers more or offer them better benefits, at the very least, the report suggests, they should try to help employees do the most with their earnings through financial counseling. Ideally, the report said, this should come from an actual person, not simply financial planning software.

“Millennials who may perceive themselves to have a slight financial disadvantage/vulnerability are more likely to seek out a fellow human for financial advice,” the report said. “They are less likely to want to outsource their financial decisions to artificial intelligence.”

About the Author

Will Temby

Will has enjoyed a 20-year career in leadership positions in the hospitality and travel industry throughout the U.S. with the Hyatt, Sheraton, Hilton, Renaissance and Steamboat Ski and Resort corporations. Will received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. From 2000-2007, he served as President and CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. He also served as Vice President-Special Projects for the University of Colorado Foundation from 2007 to 2009. Will is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Homeland Defense Foundation and former member of the United States Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. He is married to Nan, has five wonderful children, and enjoys coaching, traveling, hiking, golfing and skiing.

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