A new survey of young people in the workforce show having student debt negatively affects an employee's ability to be financially responsible, even once they are employed.
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Regina Corso Consulting conducted the survey online in January 2017, and gleaned data from 500 young employees between ages 22 and 33, as well as more than 400 HR managers.
The main takeaways from the survey show young employees with large amounts of student debt don't pursue further education, plan properly for retirement, and suffer from stress related to paying off the debt.
Fifty-four percent of employees surveyed say paying off their student debt takes precedence over saving for retirement, and 55 percent say current student debt is the barrier to pursuing the further education they want.
A majority of respondents also report their employers do not offer student loan repayment, commuter financial assistance, or professional membership payments.
The results of the survey show a gap in the burden debt plays in the life of young employees and the perceptions of their human resource managers. Thirty percent of employees say they worry about their student loans more than any other financial obligation, but 10 percent of HR managers say they think their young employees are most worried about student loans more than other obligations.
Many of the young people surveyed say health insurance and retirement are not enough to make a competitive benefits package, with so many carrying serious student debt. 94 percent said it’s important to think past those two benefits if companies want to retain good employees, and 86 percent said they’d stay with a company for at least five years if their employer helped pay student loans.
If companies offered services like signing bonuses for student debt, a matching program for student loan payments, or financial planning, more than 80 percent say they would take advantage of it.
Related: 12 rules for student loan repayment
This survey comes from American Student Assistance, a private nonprofit, which focuses on eliminating finances as a barrier to further education and professional growth.