As the “War for Talent” intensifies, now more than ever, it is critical that employers continue to look for new and unique ways to set themselves apart as an employer of choice for the best and the brightest. While a ping-pong table in the break room at work might sound fun on the surface, when it comes down to making a decision about where to work, the reality is, employees are looking for something with a bit more substance.
On the cutting edge of this “something” is the concept of helping employees pay off the mountain of student loan debt that is plaguing younger generations—especially for Millennials and younger.
Both the administration as well as the specific structure of the programs are still somewhat in flux, as uptake by employers is just now beginning to pick up speed. Details around eligibility requirements, lifetime limits, payback/stay provisions, and other program stipulations are still being fleshed out by early adopters. But, in general, the benefit tends to be paid out on a monthly basis at a set dollar amount and can be increased as needed to increase its effectiveness as either a recruitment or a retention tool.
While student loan repayment is still largely an emerging benefit, here at ERC we wanted to get a pulse on if and how local employers are implementing these so called “student loan repayment assistance programs”.
Between Thursday, May 17 and Thursday, May 24 a total of 71 participants responded electronically to ERC’s “Student Loan Repayment Assistance Poll”. In order to provide the most reliable and accurate results, data was cleaned, all quantitative data was analyzed using statistical software, and qualitative data was coded where applicable.
It came as no surprise that only a very small percentage, 6% to be exact, of the poll respondents currently have a student loan repayment assistance program in place at their organizations.
Another 10% indicated that while their organizations do not have this type of benefit in place at the time of the poll, they are in the process of putting such a program together for the future.
The demographic distribution of this 16% of employers who either have a student loan repayment program in place or are working on putting one in place, was fairly equal represented among manufacturing, non-manufacturing, and non-profit type organizations as well as among various organizational sizes (i.e., employee count).
The results of the poll are summarized in the figures below.
Figure 1: Organizations with a student loan repayment assistance program in place
- 84%: No, and at this time, we have no plans to put a student loan repayment assistance program in place.
- 10%: No, but we are in the process of putting a student loan repayment assistance program in place for the future
- 6%: Yes, we currently have a student loan repayment assistance program in place
Figure 2: Demographics of the 71 participating organizations
Compensation & Benefit Survey Data
ERC publishes compensation and benefit survey data covering local, regional, and national samples across a wide variety of industries.