Employers Shifting Benefit Perks to Appeal to Millennials

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, three percent of companies in the United States offer to help employees pay off their student loans. Now that millennials make up the largest group in the American workforce, companies are trying to respond to the needs of the generation according to George Davis, CEO of hiring firm Egon Zehnder.

“I think it’s less about perks, more about competition… How are you going to get the best and the brightest into your workforce,” he told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo.

Zehnder said the generation who has received the reputation of being entitled is being “short shifted.”

“They want purpose, identity and engagement… The old command and control and when the new person comes in, you have to grind your way up to the top, and you’ve got the authoritative boss  --That doesn’t work anymore,” he said.

Companies such as General Electric (NYSE:GE), Deloitte and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) have done away with annual reviews and according to Zehnder more corporate leaders are finding ways to get millennials more engaged and productive rather than waiting to let them know their productivity is less than perfect.

“The millennial workforce wants constant feedback. They want to know how did I do today,” he said.

Zehnder said the biggest issue for millennials are concerns over student loan debt.

“A lot of these millennials are not worried about retirement. It used to be what’s your pension?  What’s your package? The biggest issue they have is how much loan and debt do I have?” he said.

Fidelity recently launched a benefits program that helps workers pay off their student loan debt and Zehnder says the companies who don’t push back are going to lose.

“You always try to talk about diversity in the workforce and there’s only 17 female CEOs in the Fortune 500. There [are] a lot of institutions that come in and they hire at 50/50 ranks and they come in an hire men and women at the beginning, but they have this huge attrition -- but if they are not addressing needs and they are not addressing things in the workforce, then they are going to have turnover,” he said.

Zehnder also said when it comes to where the jobs are health services, business services and data analytics provide the biggest opportunities right now.