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Student-debt Relief Programs Motivate Employees

Three-quarters of organizations do not offer such programs

The competition to attract and retain talent is fierce. The unemployment rate is at a near-historic low, and companies are offering sign-on bonuses, flexible hours and a range of other perks to fill even entry-level jobs. Yet one benefit that job hunters and young employees say they want isn't being embraced: employer repayment of student loan debt.

In the U.S., more than 44 million people collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loans, according to the Federal Reserve. About 65 percent of that debt belongs to people under age 40. Seven out of 10 new college graduates, on average, owe $37,172.

But this isn't strictly a Millennial issue. The Federal Reserve reports that 6.8 million student loan borrowers between ages 40 and 49 owe $33,765 each, on average. And the problem is likely to grow. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that $1.27 trillion in new federal student loans will be added between 2018 and 2028.

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