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National Survey Finds Workers Happier Than Last Year, Rising Employee Expectations on Employer-Sponsored Education Benefits

Amid Great Retention period, 87% of workers believe employers should be investing in employees’ continued education.

HERNDON, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Strategic Education, Inc., an education company serving working adult students, has released its second national study of working Americans, which found that more employees are generally happier with their current jobs than they were last year. This suggests that employers may want to invest in education benefits to support employee retention.

82% of workers surveyed this year described their general levels of happiness as fairly or very happy at their current job—a 4% increase from last year, and almost half (44%) of workers surveyed claimed they are likely to stay with an employer for three or more years if presented with opportunities to earn a degree or certification through an employer’s education benefit.

The national survey of more than 2,000 working adults also revealed a rising expectation from employees that their employers offer education benefits. Additionally, employee interest in education benefits increased over the past year, with 87% of workers saying they believe employers should be investing in their continued education—a 4% increase over last year.

“Even in times of economic uncertainty, employers are looking for ways to retain good employees seeing as employee attrition may interfere with productivity and potentially lead to production delays and lost time,” said Karl McDonnell, CEO at Strategic Education. “This survey gives us insight into the role employer-sponsored education plays in retaining employees and how education can help support employers during this Great Retention period.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. employees quit their jobs at record levels during the pandemic, peaking in November of 2021. However, there has been a shift since the end of the year with resignations and hirings stabilizing from December 2022 to March 2023. The 2023 survey sought to understand the change in employee sentiment and what drives employees to stay with their current employer.

Providing learning opportunities has become a priority for organizations that are working to improve retention, based on the LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report 2023. Strategic Education’s survey found that employees’ increased interest in education benefits may prove useful as a retention tool:

  • 9 in 10 workers believe workplace learning is important, with 58% rating it as very important
  • 90% of employees claim their employer’s encouragement to continue their education as a means of advancing within their organization makes them more likely to stay with their current employer
  • Workers who say their current employer offers employee tuition benefits more often (81%) than workers who say their employer does not offer employees tuition benefits (58%) indicate they feel valued by their current employer

“As jobs continue to demand changing skill sets, workers are looking for opportunities to learn through their employers and we are seeing tuition benefits emerge as an expected core benefit that supports employee advancement, while at the same time helping to support retention efforts,” McDonnell said.

Strategic Education commissioned Atomik Research to conduct an online survey of 2,009 full-time workers throughout the United States. The overall margin of error fell within +/- 2 percentage points with a confidence interval of 95 percent. Fieldwork took place between March 23 and March 30 of 2023.

To read the full results, visit:

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