- Student debt impacts employees across generations — not just millennials — new research from CommonBond shows. The financial technology company polled 500 HR executives and 1,500 workers on student debt's effect on employee wellness and how or if employers are meeting workers' financial wellness needs.
- A key research finding is that student loan benefits not only help retain employees and raise their performance, but they also attract talent. Most workers with student loan debt (78%) — including 65% of workers over age 55 with current or future loan debt — want their workplace to offer this benefit.
- The research also shows that 75% of all workers have funded their own education through student loans, and 21% plan to take out student loans for a child or another family member in the next five years. But while student loan repayment is the most requested financial benefit, it's only third on HR's list of priority benefits. Seventy-five percent of HR executives think their benefits offerings are innovative, but only 50% of workers agree.
One in three employees cite money concerns as a major distraction at work, driving real productivity concerns for employers. On top of that, about 44 million Americans reportedly struggle with a combined $1.4 trillion in student loan debt. Workers plagued by money problems and heavy debt often have performance problems, along with higher levels of stress, and they are looking to employers for help with easing their financial burdens.
With the amount of student loan debt employees across generations are bringing with them into the workplace, employers may have a stake in helping resolve that problem, specifically. Students owe on average, more than $25,000 by graduation, and the loan default rate and delinquency rates are more than 10% and 5%, respectively, according to The Student Loan Report. For this reason, more employers are considering tuition payment programs for employees interested in obtaining degrees or otherwise gaining more skills — which can be a win-win for employers desperate for a more skilled employee base.
Generally, more employers are investing in employees' financial wellbeing, which can reverse decreases in productivity, ease workers' worries and stress, and curb healthcare costs associated with stress. Employers, in turn, gain a much in-demand benefit option that can attract talent and increase retention rates, especially in a tight labor market.