Companies that are having a hard time deciding which benefits to offer their workers may want to look at offering education services. New research has found that a majority of workers would use such services if they were offered as benefits. 

Overall, 53 percent of workers or their spouses said they would be somewhat interested in pursuing further education if their employer offered it, while 30 percent said they would be very likely to use additional educational services. However, just 32 percent of companies said they offer tuition reimbursement to their employees.   

"Empowering employees with education benefits can be a valuable addition to the benefits package," said Richard Carrano, president and CEO of Purchasing Power, which conducted the research. "Many employers currently provide some form of tuition assistance, but now they can offer a variety of learning options for employees and their families as a voluntary benefit, without further burdening their benefits budget. Non-traditional voluntary benefits like these are becoming increasingly popular with employees because they address employees' real-world lifestyles and financial needs."

Those benefits appeal to employees for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the cost of education has ballooned to the point that 94 percent of people have to use student loans to obtain a bachelors degree. That has pushed the total cost of student loan debt to $1 trillion, more than the debt from credit cards and automobiles combined.

However, companies can also benefit in a big way from offering educational benefits. Fifty percent of companies say they are having a hard time filling critical positions in their companies, and 40 percent say that employees lack critical skills for their jobs. Therefore, additional education can help companies and employees alike by better preparing workers for the requirements of the job.

Additionally, previous research has found that employees are more likely to stay loyal to a company because of the benefits it offers.         

The research was based on the responses of 2,160 adults ages 18 and older. More than 1,100 of those workers were employed full-time or had a spouse that was employed full-time. The study was conducted by Harris Interactive for Purchasing Power, which offers voluntary benefits programs.

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