'Bruised and battered' millennials feel financially insecure

With jobs still plenty, half of workers are still looking to change their roles, according to a new survey. And many are millennials, who are again feeling economic uncertainty.

Millennials reported higher levels of financial insecurity than other generations in the most recent Prudential Pulse survey, with 36% saying they have felt financially insecure in the past year. Half don't think they will ever retire. That's in spite of their net worth doubling in the last two years.

"I call [millennials] the bruised and battered generation because [they] came into the workplace in the aftermath of the financial crisis," Prudential Vice Chair Rob Falzon told Yahoo Finance Live (video above). "They're now entering the point of sort of peak earnings and savings and purchasing homes where they're finding a pandemic, dislocation, and the very real potential for a recession."

That's driving them to riskier investments, such as crypto, as well as seeking changes to their jobs.

business concept:   An unemployed with her cardboard box walking out of the work office.
(Photo: Getty Creative) (Anchalee Phanmaha via Getty Images)

The survey also showed three key themes for all workers, according to Falzon.

"First is long-term financial insecurity and our survey shows that despite the gains over the last two and half years or so, people are not in a very good position when it comes to their long-term financial security," said Falzon.

"The second is this ongoing desire to balance work and life and to find sort of meaningful and better career development opportunities," Falzon said. "Finally, this disassociation that the longer you're fully remote, the less you're attached to your company and your fellow employees and the more open you are to moving and going to other places."

Women employees who can benefit from remote work and work-life balance are also feeling more economic uncertainty. The Prudential Pulse survey found that 40% of women felt they weren't paid equally compared with their male counterparts, with Falzon noting the financial gender gap worsened during the pandemic.

"Clearly the divide with regard to men and women didn't close as a result of either the pandemic or even coming out of where we are in two and a half years after," Falzon said. "The onset of the pandemic, it widened."

A black and a caucasian young woman are sitting in a business meeting in a modern office.They discuss something over papers and a laptop while one of them is pointing at the computer screen. Both are wearing glasses and pie charts are visible in the background.
( Photo Credit: Getty Creative) (Hinterhaus Productions via Getty Images)

Despite the financial struggles of millennial and women workers, Falzon said that employees still have a lot of power in a strong job market with two jobs available for every one applicant.

"Depending on how you look at available labor force, it can be measured as there's a 2-to-1 ratio. So there is some time to run where I think employees are still going to [have] balance of power with regard to career optionality," Falzon said.

He also advised companies to give women and millennial workers the right opportunities and benefits to help them become financially stable.

"If you can create the right environment for women and millennials as well, you can create the right environment that creates both skilling, job opportunities, and the right form of compensation and benefit packages together," Falzon said. "I think there's a real opportunity to attract talent — to retain and attract talent — into your workplace, which will make you more competitive in the long run."

Ella Vincent is the personal finance reporter for Yahoo Money. Follow her on Twitter @bookgirlchicago.

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