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  • Data Reveal Differences in Benefit Importance by Class

    September 10, 2018 | By NACE Staff

    Compensation
    A group of college students walk on campus.

    TAGS: compensation, student attitudes, surveys, spotlight, benefits

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    When it comes to student preferences in terms of job benefits, there have been standards that appear at the top of the list every year: 100 percent employer-paid medical insurance, company-matched 401(k) plans, and guaranteed annual salary increases.

    In general, respondents to the 2018 Student Survey cited the same benefits. Overall, students most desired company-matched 401(k) plans, dental insurance, 100 percent employer-paid medical insurance, life insurance, and family-friendly benefits. (See Figure 1.) 

    However, because the 2018 Student Survey includes data for all classes at the bachelor’s degree level, it is possible to see how preferences differ. For example, the senior class was the only class to rank family-friendly benefits above life insurance, dropping the latter down to their fifth-ranked benefit. Seniors were also the only class to match the overall in terms of top three benefits in the same ranking of importance. Life insurance was deemed the most important benefit by freshmen and the second most important by sophomores.

    The 2018 Student Survey Report details the attitudes, behaviors, and outcomes for bachelor’s degree students at all class levels. (Note: Previous reports provided data only on graduating seniors.) The focus of this report is the 22,109 bachelor’s degree students from the 2017-18 academic school year (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018). Breakdowns by class level are as follows: 4,336 freshmen, 4,174 sophomores, 5,709 juniors, and 7,890 graduating seniors. Data collection took place from February 14, 2018, to April 30, 2018. The 2018 Student Survey Report will be released this fall.

    Figure 1: Percent of employee benefits rated “very” to “extremely” important, by class level

    Benefit Overall Senior Junior Sophomore Freshman
    Company-matched 401(k) 67.2% 68.2% 68.7% 65.4% 63.6%
    Dental insurance 64.6% 66.8% 64.3% 63.7% 61.0%
    100% employer-paid medical insurance 63.5% 63.5% 64.5% 63.1% 62.1%
    Life insurance 63.0% 60.1% 64.0% 65.0% 66.4%
    Family-friendly benefits 62.1% 61.2% 62.5% 63.3% 62.2%
    Guaranteed annual salary increase 59.3% 60.8% 59.4% 56.6% 58.5%
    Tuition reimbursement 57.8% 58.2% 59.0% 56.6% 56.3%
    Bonus/commission plan 42.8% 41.1% 43.4% 42.3% 46.5%
    More than 2 weeks of vacation/PTO first year of work 40.5% 42.9% 40.4% 37.1% 38.4%
    Flextime policy 40.3% 41.1% 40.5% 39.6% 38.3%
    Frequent performance reviews 33.0% 34.4% 33.6% 30.8% 31.2%
    Employee assistance program 32.2% 32.4% 33.4% 31.5% 30.5%
    Telecommuting option 27.3% 28.6% 27.4% 25.5% 25.9%
    Casual dress policy 24.1% 25.2% 23.3% 23.3% 23.5%
    On-site fitness center 19.3% 19.9% 20.3% 17.7% 18.0%
    On-site day care facilities 18.2% 16.9% 19.0% 18.5% 19.8%
    Source: 2018 Student Survey Report, National Association of Colleges and Employers