Over the next few weeks, we are going to be rolling out a new, five-part blog series discussing how to attract and retain the talent you want.
Step one: Set your employees up for success
Unemployment is low
Offering student loan assistance can help maximize your impact and your return. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that August’s U.S. unemployment rate was 3.8%, and college-educated unemployment was even lower at 2%, continuing the recent trend of the lowest unemployment rates the country has experienced in years.
For employers, low rates often mean fewer candidates available for open positions, and that you’re competing with other employers for that smaller talent pool — especially employers with big pockets, offering big sign-on bonuses, and the ones who are well-known in your community. Perhaps you compete with the likes of Amazon, Google, Facebook and other tech giants, or simply with well-known employers in your area whom everyone wants to work for. Convincing your most qualified candidates they should work for your company instead can seem like a daunting task.
Job hopping is high
To add further complexity, the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that about 3.4 million people, about 2.3% of the entire U.S. workforce, will voluntarily quit their job each month. You already know the impact that hiring and re-training employees has on your staff’s valuable time and resources, and do everything in your power to reduce it. But, as CNBC reports, workers quit their jobs in 2018 at a rate we haven’t seen since 2001. So whether it’s inability to get raises or slow movement on promotions, it’s evident that employers will continue to be faced with hurdles to retain talent.
A student loan assistance benefit can help your company stand-out
This is where student loan assistance benefit programs can differentiate your company, helping you compete for new talent and retain the valuable employees you already have.
Student loan debt has become a huge burden, especially to Millennials. Fox Business reports that U.S. Student loan debt has more than doubled since the end of the recession in 2009, reaching a record $1.465 trillion. And, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Bureau of Labor Statistics and CNBC confirm that the burden is shouldered by over 44 million Americans, which equates to approximately 28% of the U.S. workforce, including 70% of recent graduates. This amounts to decades of student debt burden for employees and a major deciding factor in employees’ life decisions. Even a more modest student debt burden of $53,000 for couples with bachelor degrees leads to a lifetime wealth loss of nearly $208,000.
It’s no wonder prospective candidates and current employees find student loan assistance benefits an important consideration when evaluating employers. The Millennial Benefit Preferences study found that candidates are willing to accept a job offer 85% of the time when Student Loan Repayment is part of the benefit package, and are willing to stay in a job 36% longer when receiving Student Loan Repayment.
Wondering how student loan debt affects your industry? Check out our industry pages for a breakdown of the numbers, and check back in next week for part two of the series!