The class of 2016 is feeling pretty positive about their job prospects - 86% percent of college graduates are at least somewhat optimistic they will find full-time work after graduating, and 92% are hopeful they will land their desired job, according to a new survey by Indeed.
Something new graduates are probably not feeling so positive about is the student loan debt they will be saddled with upon receiving their degrees. In a national survey of 2,500 graduating seniors, Indeed found that 86% of graduates have started paying, or will start paying off their loans within the first year of graduation. Additionally, 25% prioritize student loan help as a job benefit, and 61% of that cohort are specifically looking for jobs that are offering student loan assistance.
A study by the Society of Human Resource Management shows only 3% of employers offer student debt repayment as a benefit. For companies looking to attract the next generation of talent, or those who are competing for in-demand professionals like software engineers or nurses, providing student loan assistance as a benefit can be a big differentiator in the recruiting process.
The Indeed survey also found that student loan assistance may be particularly helpful for graduates that will need to meet basic living costs. With 77% of new grads looking to live in the country’s 20 largest (and most expensive) cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, 37% said they will live with their parents for at least a year after graduation to save money.
A handful of companies like Fidelity Investments, Natixis Global Asset Management and PriceWaterhouseCoopers are offering student loan assistance as a benefit. But there isn’t a major trend for companies adding this benefit that so many new grads are actively looking for.
Adding a new benefit to your existing suite is no easy task - many companies are looking for ways to streamline benefits, not add to them. But if your company is hiring aggressively or is in a competitive industry, student loan forgiveness could be the benefit that swings the candidate in your favor.