Employers are looking at additional benefits to help workers who are stressed out over paying rent, transportation and food, and student loans. Even though job numbers and wages have increased, too often there just isn’t enough money to make ends meet, particularly in high-cost-of-living cities such as New York, San Francisco and Seattle.
The anxiety is particularly high among millennials, born between 1980 and 1994. They struggle from paycheck to paycheck.
For example, young tech-savvy people may earn higher wages in Seattle, but find the cost of housing in Austin is half that of Seattle. Outlays for food, transportation and taxes also are lower in Texas. Seattle and Austin go head to head competing for cutting-edge software and computer companies, and attracting talented workers is a prerequisite.
However, one expense is constant and that is the cost of student loans. When human resource managers survey workers, they consistently find that nearly 9 of 10 workers are distracted from their work by financial worries. Consequently, offsetting education costs is weaving its way into employer benefit programs.
All told, there’s a whopping $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loans and, according to the Federal Reserve, the number keeps growing.