Pension & Benefits News More employers add education assistance programs
Wednesday, November 20, 2019

More employers add education assistance programs

By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff

Employers continue to expand their Total Rewards offerings to attract, engage and retain top performing employees, according to recent research from WorldatWork. Not surprisingly, given societal and media focus on student debt and pay equity, education assistance programs (26 percent in 2019 vs. 10 percent in 2018) and diversity and inclusion initiatives (65 percent in 2019 vs. 58 percent in 2018) increased year-over-year. The Inventory of Total Rewards Programs and Practices survey continues to evolve as employee expectations and the workplace change; this year, questions related to well-being (e.g., workplace sleep programs, fitness-related subsidies); redirected PTO (e.g., to 401(k)s or college savings); and development opportunities, among others, were added, WorldatWork noted.

The following programs were offered at statistically significant higher rates in 2019 versus 2018:

  • Employee scholarships, student aid, loans: 10 percent in 2018 vs. 26 percent in 2019.
  • Diversity and inclusion initiatives: 58 percent in 2018 vs. 65 percent in 2019.
  • Adoption reimbursement: 20 percent in 2018 vs. 26 percent in 2019.
  • College scholarships for employees’ children: 20 percent in 2018 vs. 26 percent in 2019.
  • On-site fitness center: 52 percent in 2018 vs. 58 percent in 2019.
  • Appreciation lunches, outings, formal events: 76 percent in 2018 vs. 81 percent in 2019.
  • Immunization clinics or promotions: 79 percent in 2018 vs. 84 percent in 2019.
  • Paid parental leave: 52 percent in 2018 vs. 57 percent in 2019.
  • Leadership training: 84 percent in 2018 vs. 88 percent in 2019.
  • Self-development tools: 80 percent in 2018 vs. 84 percent in 2019.

“The breadth of Total Rewards has become increasingly diverse and expansive, in ways that would astonish workers from previous generations,” said Scott Cawood, president and CEO of WorldatWork. “In this tight job market where competition to recruit top talent across all levels is fierce, organizations are responding to the changing needs and desires of the workforce with a multitude of Total Rewards options. For example, with pay equity a hot button issue, diversity and inclusion initiatives to help address pay gaps are becoming more prevalent.”


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