Benefits and Compensation, HR Management & Compliance, Talent

Want to Attract Recent College Grads? Try Offering This Trendy Benefit

Tassels have been flipped, hats have been tossed, diplomas are in hand, and college graduates are ready to enter the “real world.” Do you have what it takes to attract these talented individuals to your company? Let’s find out!


PeopleImages / E+ / Getty Images

But first, here’s a little insight into how today’s college grads are viewing the job-hunting process.’s latest survey focuses on what these jobseekers’ priorities are in the search, how they find jobs, and how they’re feeling about their prospects.

College Graduates Are Optimistic

According to the findings, college graduates are pretty optimistic that they’ll land a job within the first 1 to 2 months of searching (59%), and over a quarter (28%) think it’ll take less than a month to get hired. Given the tight labor market, these predictions may be right on the nose as more employers scramble to fill vacant positions.

How Do Graduates Job Search?

When looking for a job, college graduates are most likely to look at specific companies of interest (47%), followed by leveraging word-of-mouth channels (43%), according to Monster’s data. Job boards are the third most-likely source (35%) for young people searching for a job. Interestingly, men are more likely to rely on Instagram as a resource (34%) than women (24%).
While graduates are optimistic about finding a job, the interview process continues to be a stressful experience for new graduates entering the workforce. The Monster data finds that when prepping for the interview process, respondents admitted feeling stressed about taking a job assessment to see if the job is the right fit (55%).
Respondents are also worried about wearing the appropriate outfit/attire to an in-person interview (51%), and surprisingly, men are more stressed (57%) about their attire than women (46%).

What Do Graduates Look for in an Employer?

Monster also found that the most important factors candidates prioritize when job hunting is the location (32%) and starting salary (32%). Lower on jobseekers’ list of priorities were company perks (14%), company mission/values (11%), and company size (9%).

The #1 Benefit to Lure College Grads in

While 14% of Monster respondents prioritize company perks on the low end of the totem pole, that doesn’t mean you should stop offering them. Work perks and benefits are still a great way to attract talent of all ages to your company.
If you’re looking to attract college graduates, one perk/benefit you should definitely consider offering is student loan repayment or some other financial benefit that helps this demographic knock down some of their debt.
In a new YouGov/Abbott survey, of 2,594 U.S. adults, 64% of all respondents with student loans say finding a company that offers a student loan benefit is important. Offering this option not only attracts talent in the door but also keeps them sticking around. This benefit is especially important when you take into account the fact that 62% of employed adults with student loans would consider switching companies to gain a student loan relief employee benefit.
Student loan repayment is also standing in the way of long-term financial planning. According to the YouGov/Abbott survey, 42% of adults aren’t saving for retirement due to their student loans, including almost half (48%) of people with student debt ages 18 to 34.
According to Abbott—a global health technology company—employees with $40,000 in debt would pay off their loans, on average, 3 years sooner by diverting an additional 2% of their eligible pay towards debt repayment. However, not many workers are able to contribute this percentage due to low wages and rising living costs. This is where employers come into the picture.
About 4% of companies today offer a cash reward to help employees with student loans—and one-third of employers are expected to follow suit by offering some type of student loan debt program, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. If you currently do not offer this benefit, you’re not alone.
In a recent Recruiting Daily Advisor survey, only 7% of respondents say they do offer this benefit to attract talent. If you aren’t currently offering student loan repayment, what are you waiting for? You’ll be so far ahead of your competition; all your vacant positions will be filled by the end of the third quarter. (Pure speculation, of course, but wouldn’t that be nice!)
By offering student loan repayment benefits, not only will you be attracting talent of all ages, you’ll also be providing these workers with the financial wellness they need to remain engaged, and ultimately, you’ll be retaining them longer than if you didn’t offer this type of benefit at all. Consult with your benefits experts today, to see what it would take to work this into your offerings.