Much ink has been spilled (including by this reporter) about the growth in companies offering to help their employees repay their student loans. Unfortunately, 20-somethings actually hoping to take advantage of this perk may struggle to find a job that offers it.
Roughly 25% of recent college graduates said they’d prioritize student loan repayment benefits in their job search, according to a survey of 2, 500 of them released Thursday by Indeed, a job search site. But less than 1% of companies include student loan repayment in their job postings, according to Indeed, which is home to more than 3 million U.S. listings. Employers touted other popular perks, like free lunch and unlimited vacation, at similarly low levels. Firms were more likely to advertise established benefits, such as a 401(k) or a sign on bonus, which were included in 7.6% and 5.3% of listings respectively.
How to stop an adult cyberbully(3:04)
A large percentage of adult Internet users say they've been harassed online. How to stop cyberbullying and how some high-profile celebrities have dealt with the issue.
“That’s something that clearly would be very much appreciated by a large portion of graduating seniors, ” Paul D’Arcy, a senior vice president at Indeed, said of student loan help from the boss. “They’re going to have a hard time finding those jobs.”Indeed How benefits listed on Indeed job postings compare.
With roughly 70% of college graduates leaving school with student loan debt, a handful of firms are offering to help them pay it off in a bid to lure and retain top talent. Fidelity Investments, PricewaterhouseCoopers and online food ordering site ChowNow are among the employers who announced student loan repayment benefits over the past several months.
Though the perk is still relatively rare, it’s possible that an improving economy will push more companies to start offering it D’Arcy said. “The numbers are still so small that It doesn’t feel like the tide has fully turned, but it feels like it’s about to, ” he said. There are signs the industry is primed for growth. Already a small number of startups are offering to help employers manage their student loan repayment benefit and some lawmakers are looking at ways to allow employers to contribute to their employees’ student loans on a pretax basis.
And there’s reason to believe young job seekers may soon get more leverage. The class of 2016 is entering the best job market for recent college graduates in several years; 67% of employers said they plan to hire fresh bachelor’s degree recipients, according to a poll published by CareerBuilder, a job search site. That’s the highest share since 2007. Indeed’s survey also found that a vast majority of the class of 2016 is pretty confident they’ll find a job. “When you see how amazingly optimistic graduating seniors are at what is a very stressful life transition, it shows how strong the economy has become for college graduates, ” D’Arcy said.
Thanks both to an improving economy and help from his university’s career center, Garrett Conely landed one of those elusive gigs with an offer of student loan help relatively easily. The 24-year-old, who will be graduating from Bentley University this month, is starting a job at Fidelity in June.
Though student loan help wasn’t a game-changer for Conely — his debt load is relatively small and he didn’t even find out about the perk until well into the interview process — he appreciates the message Fidelity is sending by agreeing to help workers pay off their loans. “It’s nice that Fidelity is saying that we recognize these problems because so many students have college debt, ” he said.