- Of the 30,000 American working adults pursuing higher education surveyed by Bright Horizons in a new report, 90% said they think automation will change their jobs or their industries. Employees' anxiety about the future, coupled with the money they owe in student debt, has them interested in benefits like tuition reimbursement, student loan repayment and upskilling.
- Respondents reported strong outcomes from these benefits; 84% said what they learned with support from their employers' tuition reimbursement programs prepared them for the future of work, and 82% said they're more effective at work because of that training.
- Members of Generation Z expressed the greatest desire for education benefits, ranking them above paid sick and vacation leave and retirement savings programs. More than 80% said education benefits would cause them to be more likely to recommend their employer.
It likely comes as no surprise that most workers with student loan debt want their employers to offer repayment benefits, as noted in the findings of a CommonBond survey published last May. Many workers regret racking up tens of thousands — even hundreds of thousands — of dollars in student loans; in fact, the financial burden tops the list of regrets among college students, a PayScale survey discovered.
It follows, then, that workers go gaga for student loan repayment benefits, and they're becoming increasingly common. PwC said in May that it has paid $25 million toward its employees' student loan debts through a pay-down program it founded in 2016. Separately, nearly a third of job seekers said they have encountered employers that offer the attractive perk, according to research from Clutch. Still, the December 2018 survey concluded only 4% to 5% of U.S. companies offer student-loan repayment assistance.
As the Bright Horizons survey shows, student debt repayment is not the only education benefit workers value. Employers may consider offering perks that allow workers access to educational opportunities that help them brush up on their skills or learn new ones entirely. Liberty Mutual, for example, created an in-house bootcamp for its employees to strengthen their software development skills.