In case you hadn’t noticed, unemployment is currently the lowest it’s been in decades. It’s a job seeker’s employment market right now in the United States, leaving employers scrambling to attract the best talent for new and open positions. Too many businesses make the common mistake of thinking that a higher salary is what will get the most in-demand professionals in the door. Instead, the benefits you decide to offer (or not to offer) could actually be the reason you’re losing out on the most innovative and sought-after candidates.
According to Glassdoor’s 2017 employee benefits guide, 57% of candidates report that perks and benefits are among their top considerations when accepting a job. This may matter especially to tech-based companies, because the information technology (IT) industry is one of the industries with the highest-rated benefits. If your benefits lag behind, it’s going to be very difficult to compete.
Fortunately for employers, this news means that the problem isn’t necessarily that your company isn’t spending enough on benefits. It may be that you simply aren’t offering the right benefits that employees want—especially younger job candidates. First, understand that health coverage tops the list for desired benefits and will likely continue to be a major concern for job seekers moving forward. Once you’ve got your medical coverage benefits squared away, take a look at the trends below to help identify where your company can improve.
- Work-life Balance
Expanding your benefits package to include things like flexible scheduling, work-from-home opportunities and unlimited paid time off (PTO) policies that directly impact your employees’ well-being can help give you an edge over a competitor in hiring and retaining talent. According to a recent survey by the Harvard Business Review, benefits that prioritize work-life balance are the second-most valued employee benefit following medical benefits.
For office professionals, the work-from-home benefit is in especially high demand. In fact, 63% of tech professionals reported they would take a pay cut from to be able to work from home at least half the time, according to Dice’s 2018 Tech Salary Report. That’s the kind of benefit that additional salary simply can’t buy.
- Student Loan Assistance
Recruiting college grads? Well, for 44 million Americans with student debt, a major draw to a potential job is offering student loan repayment assistance. Very few companies provide this benefit, and with the steady stream of recent grads entering the workforce, this is one of the hottest employee benefits.
Businesses looking to attract and retain Millennials, in particular, should prioritize adding the “student loan assistance” benefit to enhance their recruiting efforts and expand the pool of candidates they have to choose from. While it’s not as feasible for some companies due to the additional taxation fees and requirements, even offering an employer contribution of $50 or $100 can go a long way toward attracting professionals since IonTuition reports around three-quarters of grads make monthly payments of $300 or less.
- Professional Development
You might be surprised to discover that workers will accept the lower end of the competitive pay scale if they believe they’ll be learning a lot working for your company. On-the-job training isn’t enough, however. Employees care about the benefits that impact their ability to be successful in their role and professional growth. Expanding your benefits package to incorporate enhanced, niche training may be the key to improve retention rates in your business, especially among new hires. Seasoned employees enjoy this benefit as well, however, because it helps calm anxiety over being left behind by an evolving digital landscape and being replaced by a younger, more tech-savvy worker.
Bear in mind that simply adding these benefits to your package isn’t sufficient to make a difference. You must actively advertise them. Reference these unique benefits in interviews with candidates to help your company stand out as an employer with a great long-term fit. Given the cut-throat recruitment practices used in times of high employment such as these, going the extra mile to provide the benefits that employees actually want can help make your business a favored destination for job seekers.