Student loan debt casts a wide net and draws in a lot of people: students burdened with financial stress; workers who must reskill and upskill; and employers that must fill skills gaps and are seeking to increase diversity in their companies. People in each of these groups face financial constraints caused by student loan debt.
In truth, student loan debt impacts everyone who participates in the general economy through weakened economic stability, opportunity, and growth. A viable solution for the student debt dilemma is student loan assistance. While this benefit eases stress for employees who have student debt, it also provides important benefits for employers. Student loan assistance helps employers fill skills gaps from within their company and increase company diversity.
Facilitate Employee Upskilling and Continual Education
Student loan assistance is an important benefit for both employers and employees. It can help employers close skills gaps and help employees engage in continual training and education. A 2019 study from Learning House and Future Workplace shows that almost two-thirds of employers believe there is a skills gap in their company. This gap makes their companies less efficient, decreases innovation, and causes them to lose opportunities for growth. For many businesses, employees within their own workforce can fill the skills gap, but they face obstacles in pursuing additional education.
Making it possible for employees to pursue higher education is important for businesses today. Employers need employees with advanced skills and training, and employees are aware of what they and their employers will need: 87 percent of people in the workforce believe they will need training and continual learning to develop new skills to keep up with workplace changes. These changes will include totally new jobs. Based on past employment changes, McKinsey & Company estimates eight to nine percent of work will be in new jobs by 2030.
Financial concerns are the biggest obstacle to pursuing higher education and gaining new skills. And for employees, student debt is at the top of the list of financial concerns. Graduates who have debt or employees who have student debt but no degree will find it too difficult to take on more education expenses.
Student loan assistance is a way for employers to invest in their employees and companies. Investing in employees who have debt from previous education is a best practice for retaining qualified employees. Providing loan assistance for those who have some college but no degree gives employers the opportunity to build their company talent from within.
Increase Diversity in the Workforce
Each year, the case for diversity and inclusion in the workplace grows stronger. The U.S. population is more diverse than ever, and the diversity keeps increasing. Currently, whites make up 60.4 percent of the population, Hispanic Americans make up 18.3 percent, black or African Americans make up 13.4 percent, and Asian Americans make up 5.9 percent.
The racial makeup of the country will be different by 2055, the Pew Research Center predicts. Whites will still be the largest group at 48 percent, but the majority of the population will be a mix of minorities: Hispanic Americans at 24 percent, Asians at 14 percent, and blacks at 13 percent.
Businesses that can create diversity that mirrors the population will thrive. People from different backgrounds, cultures, and ethnic groups enrich businesses and can bring multiple perspectives to problem-solving and understanding ethnic preferences. They can ensure company services and products serve an entire population rather than small groups of the population. Businesses that support all employees and encourage minorities to seek higher education will have the capacity to lead in the marketplace.
Providing loan assistance so employees can further their education without debt burden may be especially valuable to minority employees. They may have been among the first in their families to pursue higher education or have lived in poverty without the financial resources to complete their education. Student loan assistance will help them overcome financial burdens that could prevent them from pursuing higher education. They will be able to earn better salaries and more fully participate in the economy, bringing about a chain of economic benefits.
For more than 30 years, Edcor has been helping clients stand out with the education benefits they offer their employees. Our clients build strong, diversified, and inclusive workforces with education benefits programs designed to meet their goals and needs. We work with our clients so their education benefits can support all employees. This creates an opportunity for our clients to align employee education with company growth and fill their talent needs from within. Employees who want to complete their education have the opportunity to move forward without loan debt blocking their way.
Student loan assistance helps Edcor clients retain qualified employees who are eager to improve their performance and be part of a productive team. Edcor helps clients design education benefits for employees at all levels so they can benefit from the talents and perspectives of their entire workforce. For Edcor clients, education benefits bring multiple returns such as a diverse and inclusive workforce, a productive and profitable business, and a strong economy that promotes business growth.
Adrienne L. Way is the Owner, President, and CEO of Edcor Data Services LLC. She was a top Edcor executive when she purchased the company in 2010, and by that time, her technology insights and service skills were part of the company’s operational DNA. Before Edcor, she spent several years with the Sandy Corporation, honing her passion for cutting-edge support programs. Way’s “hands-on” leadership style influences every aspect of Edcor’s success, including strategies, marketing, and business development. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Science in Business from Central Michigan University.