Health Insurance, Paid Time Off and Student Loan Forgiveness Top List of Millennials’ Desired Workplace Benefits: AICPA Survey

  • Nearly two-thirds of young adult job seekers have student loan debt,
    with an average of $33,332.
  • Millennials with loan debt value more help with repayment over all
    other employee benefits.
  • AICPA Employee Benefits Report offers guidance on understanding and
    utilizing benefits.

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–This year, it is projected
that nearly two million students will graduate with a bachelor’s degree.
As they enter the job market and evaluate the employment opportunities
before them, student loan debt is weighing on their minds. This,
according to research conducted by MAVY Poll on behalf of the American
Institute of CPAs (AICPA) among millennials who graduated from college
in the last 24 months or will graduate in the next 12 months and are
currently looking for employment – referred to as “young adult job

When asked to choose the top three benefits that would most help them
achieve their financial goals, young adult job seekers top two choices
focused on the traditional benefits of health insurance and paid time
off. Interestingly, student loan forgiveness was the third most cited
option. This goes to show employers that along with health and work-life
balance, student loans are a primary concern for young adults entering
the workforce. This priority placed on paying off student loans may lead
some new graduates to pursue careers in public service where student
loan forgiveness is a more common incentive.

Young Adult Job Seekers
Benefit       Chosen in Top 3 by:
Health Insurance       54%
Paid Time Off       45%
Student Loan Forgiveness       41%
Working Remotely       38%
401k Retirement Fund Match       36%
Tuition Reimbursement       25%
Pension       15%
Paid Parental Leave       13%

The relatively low number (36 percent) that selected 401(k) match may be
explained by retirement seeming like it is in the distant future.
However, individuals with the longest time until retirement stand to
gain the most from this benefit. Those just entering the workforce
should aim to contribute enough to get the entire employer match.
Otherwise, they are essentially missing out on a 100 percent return on
their investment that will continue to compound over time.

“Early career decisions often have a major impact later in life,” said
Gregory Anton, CPA, CGMA, chairman of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial
Literacy Commission. “A mentality of ‘I’ll start saving when I get a bit
older’ often results in retirement savings being put on the back burner.
However, by beginning to save towards retirement as early as possible,
new graduates will benefit from decades of compounding growth. Time is
an asset, and those just starting their career are in a prime position
to take advantage of it.”

While student loan forgiveness was the third most popular benefit
overall for young Millennials– among those with outstanding loan debt,
student loan repayment was viewed as being a more important use of their
benefit dollars than any other comparable benefit. When given a
hypothetical $100 to have an employer split between paying a portion of
their student loan debt verses putting towards a specific benefit, young
job seekers burdened by student loan debt said they would prefer their
employer put more money towards paying their student loan debt in all

Young Adult Job Seekers with Student Loans

Dollars Towards


      Dollars Towards
Student Loan Debt
Health Insurance       $ 39       $ 61
Paid Time Off       $ 39       $ 61
Tuition Reimbursement       $ 39       $ 61
Life Insurance       $ 37       $ 63
401k Retirement Fund Match       $ 35       $ 65
Day Care       $ 21       $ 79

“Student loan debt can cause recent graduates to make the mistake of
looking past the benefits an employer is offering and just focus on the
salary. Wide disparities between health insurance options, employer
retirement contributions as well as vacation and sick leave underscore
the need for prospective employees to fully understand the value of the
benefits being offered to them,” added Anton.

The full results of the survey conducted by MAVY Poll on behalf of the
AICPA, along with further analysis, are available in a free Employee
Benefit Report on the AICPA’s 360
Degrees of Financial Literacy website
. The site also features
multiple free resources including information about what questions
to ask when evaluating benefits
as well as a wide-variety of calculators
on topics such as 401(k)s, loan repayment and setting a monthly budget.

Additional Survey Findings:

  • It’s clear that young adult job seekers understand the value of
    employee benefits, even if there isn’t consensus among them on which
    are the most valuable. In fact, they estimated on average, workplace
    benefits represent 32.7 percent of total annual compensation. This is
    quite accurate, as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, benefits
    average 31.4 percent of a total compensation package.
  • Despite the majority of those surveyed currently having student loan
    debt, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of young Millennials said they
    plan to return to school at some point.
  • A Bureau
    of Labor Statistics report
    that found Baby Boomers held an average
    of 11.9 jobs from age 18 to age 50. Millennials have a reputation for
    job-hopping. However, when asked, the average young millennial said
    they expect to work 4.6 jobs throughout their lifetime.
  • Nearly 9 in 10 (87 percent) young Millennials are confident they
    understand all the benefits available to them. Similarly, 85 percent
    are confident they will use the benefits available to them to their
    fullest potential whenever possible.
  • More than two-thirds (68 percent) of young Millennials expect the
    value of employer offered benefits to increase in the future.


This MAVY® Poll was conducted online within the United States from
September 17 through September 28, 2018 using The
proprietary on-line community, supplemented with sample
provided from Pegasus™ by InnovateMR. The poll was distributed to 1,984
young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 years old, with 547
respondents who have graduated from college in the last 24 months or
will graduate in the next 12 months. Of those, 413 respondents indicated
they are currently seeking fulltime employment. This report contains the
results from those respondents, referred to as, ‘Young Adult Job

About the American Institute of CPAs

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is the world’s largest member
association representing the CPA profession, with more than 431,000
members in 137 countries and territories, and a history of serving the
public interest since 1887. AICPA members represent many areas of
practice, including business and industry, public practice, government,
education and consulting. The AICPA sets ethical standards for its
members and U.S. auditing standards for private companies, nonprofit
organizations, federal, state and local governments. It develops and
grades the Uniform CPA Examination, offers specialized credentials,
builds the pipeline of future talent and drives professional competency
development to advance the vitality, relevance and quality of the

The AICPA maintains offices in New York, Washington, DC, Durham, NC, and
Ewing, NJ.

Media representatives are invited to visit the AICPA Press Center at

About the Association of International Certified Professional

The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the
Association) is the most influential body of professional accountants,
combining the strengths of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) to power
opportunity, trust and prosperity for people, businesses and economies
worldwide. It represents 667,000 members and students across 184
counties and territories in public and management accounting and
advocates for the public interest and business sustainability on current
and emerging issues. With broad reach, rigor and resources, the
Association advances the reputation, employability and quality of CPAs,
CGMAs and accounting and finance professionals globally.


Jonathan Lynch

James Schiavone

error: Content is protected !!