This Company Just Upped the Ante on Workplace Benefits. Will More Follow Its Lead?

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  • The right workplace benefits can make a job offer more enticing.
  • One company is offering a key benefit that could help it attract new employees and keep existing staff happy.
  • Citi is offering to pay for employees to get a college degree from certain schools it has partnered with.

Some employees may be in for a nice perk.

In today's tight labor market, many companies are still struggling to attract and retain talent. And while offering up higher wages is a great way to entice people to accept a job (or stay at one), the reality is that a salary boost alone may not do the trick. Rather, companies need to get serious about rethinking their employee benefit packages. And one major employer just stepped up big time.

A key benefit

It's hardly a secret that the cost of higher education has soared over the past several decades. And many people who manage to walk away with a college degree also inevitably end up saddled with debt. As such, tuition assistance is becoming an increasingly desirable workplace perk. And now, Citi is offering it.

Citi recently announced it will be offering workers a fully funded college degree from a select list of schools it's chosen to partner up with. An estimated 38,000 Citi banking employees will now be eligible for no-cost college.

Now to be clear, Citi isn't the only company to offer this benefit. EdAssist, a tuition management service, has seen a 33% uptick in the number of companies offering no-cost degrees to employees in 2022 alone. These include big names like T-Mobile and McDonald's.

Should you seek out a company that will pay for you to go to college?

Many companies offer employees tuition assistance as a benefit. But a smaller number actually go as far to pay for college in full. If you don't like the idea of taking on any amount of debt in the course of obtaining a degree, then it could pay to focus on that benefit specifically in the course of your job searching.

That said, when seeking out a new job, it's really important to look at the big picture when it comes to compensation. That means evaluating not only the salary you're being offered, but also, the total benefits package it comes with. Those benefits may include:

  • Generously subsidized health insurance
  • A large amount of paid time off (some companies even offer unlimited vacation and sick days)
  • Wellness benefits, such as free gym or yoga studio memberships
  • Retirement plan matches
  • HSA contributions
  • Parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child
  • Subsidized life insurance
  • Low-cost pet insurance
  • Continuing education opportunities (such as courses to boost job skills)

The list really could go on, so it's important to do your research and consider the benefits a given company is offering on top of wages. Furthermore, while you may like the idea of free college tuition, you should also know that in many cases, that perk comes with a catch, such as having to work for your employer for a specific amount of time and being limited to a specific pool of schools that may or may not offer the program you want. So rather than fixate on free college tuition alone, really take a look at the whole package when deciding where to work.

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