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Amid Great Resignation, Survey Finds Even Happy Employees Are Looking for New Opportunities; Tuition Benefits can Increase Loyalty

June 8, 2022

83% of respondents believe employers should invest in their continued education

A national survey of working Americans commissioned by Strategic Education, Inc., an education company serving working adult students, reveals that even employees who are generally happy at their jobs are open to other job opportunities. However, employees who receive tuition benefits report feeling more valued by their employer.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, employers experienced a mass exodus from the workforce, repercussions of which continue to present them with many challenges. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 4.5 million workers in the U.S. voluntarily quit their jobs in March of 2022 alone. While some have speculated that this “Great Resignation” is about disgruntled employees trying to find work that makes them happy, the survey points to other factors as well. In fact,46% of workers who indicate being generally happy at their current job say they are open to other job opportunities. Moreover, 2 in 5 of those same employees who indicate being generally happy at their current job are actively looking for a new job.

“Understanding worker sentiment and expectations is key to improving employee retention and attracting a more skilled workforce,” said Terry McDonough, President of Education Technology Services at Strategic Education. “This survey reveals that employees expect employers to support their education and demonstrates the value of tuition assistance programs to hiring and retention in a competitive labor market.”

The survey of working Americans found that tuition benefits could help improve employee job satisfaction, loyalty, and retention:

  • Job satisfaction: 86% of workers who say their current employer offers its employees tuition benefits report their general level of happiness as fairly or very happy at their current job. In addition, 62% of respondents who indicated they feel incomplete, stagnant, frustrated and/or uninspired at their current job believe they would feel better about their current job if their employer paid for workforce training or continuing education.
  • Sense of worth: Over three-fourths (76%) of workers who said their current employer offers its employees tuition benefits reported feeling valued by their current employer, whereas almost half (48%) of workers who indicated their current employer does not offer its employees tuition benefits say they do not feel valued by their current employer or report they are unsure if they feel valued by their current employer.
  • Loyalty: For those workers who are not currently receiving tuition benefits from their employers, an offer of such benefits might entice them to stay in their position. 58% of respondents who did not indicate that their current employer offers tuition benefits (N=910) say they would likely remain with their current employer if their current employer offered tuition benefits.

The survey results can also inform employers on how to make tuition benefits more attractive to their employees.

“We can glean from this survey that tuition assistance is becoming an employer benefit that employees are coming to expect,” said McDonough. “However, just offering the benefit may not be enough. If employers want more employees to take advantage of the benefit, they will need to offer to cover the cost of tuition up front and allow employees the flexibility to choose what to study,” McDonough continued.

  • Expectation: Most respondents (83%) believe employers should be investing in employees’ continued education.
  • Flexibility: 74% of respondents say they would use an employer-sponsored tuition benefits program if they had the flexibility to choose what to study and which school to attend.
  • Payment up-front: Regardless of whether their current employer offers employer-sponsored tuition benefits, 75% of respondents say they would be more likely to use an employer-sponsored tuition benefits program if their employer paid the costs of tuition upfront, rather than reimbursement of the costs, to continue their education.

Strategic Education, Inc. conducted online survey fieldwork among 2,000 full-time working Americans nationwide in partnership with Atomik Research between March 17 and March 22, 2022. To read the full results, visit:

About Strategic Education, Inc.

Strategic Education, Inc. (NASDAQ: STRA) ( is dedicated to helping advance economic mobility through higher education. We primarily serve working adult students globally through our core focus areas: 1) U.S. Higher Education, including Strayer University and Capella University, each institutionally accredited, and collectively offer flexible and affordable associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs including the Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University, and non-degree web and mobile application development courses through Strayer University’s Hackbright Academy and Devmountain; 2) Education Technology Services, developing and maintaining relationships with employers to build education benefits programs providing employees access to affordable and industry-relevant training, certificate, and degree programs, including through Workforce Edge, a full-service education benefits administration solution for employers, and Sophia Learning, enabling education benefits programs through low-cost online general education courses that are ACE-recommended for college credit; and 3) Australia/New Zealand, comprised of Torrens University, Think Education, and Media Design School that collectively offer certificate and degree programs in Australia and New Zealand. This portfolio of high quality, innovative, relevant, and affordable programs and institutions helps our students prepare for success in today’s workforce and find a path to bettering their lives.

Elaine Kincel

Source: Strategic Education, Inc.
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