Education Benefits Assistance Employers and Employees
Education benefits assistance is becoming increasingly important to today’s workforce. In addition, education benefits assistance is becoming an integral part of employers’ recruitment and retention of top talent. Technology is quickly changing the workforce and the way we work, creating the need for education benefits assistance and innovation in the workplace. As such, employers are racing to keep up. Employers are re-skilling workers in an attempt to stay a step ahead of the coming era of automation. In particular, frontline workers are vulnerable to automation, so employers are working overtime to level up their skills via education benefits to keep their workforce viable and competitive.
Employees are keenly aware that the workplace is evolving and that they need to take advantage of education benefits offerings, according to a recent Bright Horizons Working Learning Index survey, cited in Employee Benefit News. Bright Horizons surveyed more than 30,000 working learners. When asked why employees were pursuing additional education or training, most answered they were doing it to “‘keep pace with or get ahead of changes in my position.’” This response beat other reasons, such as advancement, opportunities at another organization and even earning additional pay at work, according to EBN.
Those most likely to take advantage of education benefits assistance at work? Generation Z. In fact, this generation ranks education as their most valuable benefit, excluding healthcare. With college costs on the rise, Generation Z is looking to employers’ education benefits offerings to help them get the knowledge they need to be competitive in the workforce. Around four in 10 Get Z employees say their tuition reimbursement is the best education benefit their employer offers. Eight out of ten say this education benefit is among the top three voluntary offerings on their employer’s benefits menu.
Among the workers Bright Horizons surveyed, 76% said a tuition reimbursement program would make them more likely to remain with their employer; eight in 10 said this education benefit would make them more likely to recommend working at their organization to a friend. Around 64% said education benefits like these make them “‘happier at work.’” Employees of all ages — the workforce now spans five generations — rank education benefits at the top of their wish lists: higher than wellness benefits, and even above life or disability insurance and paid family leave. According to the Bright Horizons survey, only retirement savings programs and paid sick or vacation time ranked higher, EBN noted.
Perhaps most important, as the Bright Horizons survey found, is that employees said they would not have pursued additional education had their employers not offered education benefits like tuition assistance. Around 55% said the time commitment required to complete a degree was a challenge. Therefore, they had an appreciation for self-paced learning, often delivered online. Online learning, they said, provided an excellent opportunity to utilize their education benefits assistance at work.
As EBN aptly pointed out, it may seem counterintuitive for employers to offer education benefits that encourage workers to garner knowledge and training to move them beyond their current roles. However, it’s clear that employees value education benefits to help them learn new skills and take their careers to the next level. Plus, investing in education benefits such as tuition reimbursement can help employers remain competitive in an ultra-tight labor market and stay a step ahead of the automation curve. Offering education benefits also shows employees that employers value their contributions and have the desire to invest in their future success. In addition, offering education benefits assistance results in happier, well-educated employees who can make even more meaningful contributions at their places of employment. That may be the best reason of all for employers to consider offering more education benefits.