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  • The Benefit Preferences of First-Generation Students

    January 25, 2017 | By NACE Staff

    Student Attitudes
    A first-generation student smiles on her graduation day.

    TAGS: salaries, nace insights, benefits

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    Although, for the most part, first-generation and non-first-generation students agree on the importance of individual employer benefits, the groups do differ on several, according to First-Generation Students: Influences, Outcomes, and Implications for Job-Search Success.

    The greatest differences can be seen in their attitudes toward tuition reimbursement, family-oriented benefits, and benefits related to medical coverage. First-generation students valued these benefits on a greater level in comparison to non-first-generation students. (See Figure 1.)

    Although more data are needed to identify what is driving the two groups’ differing views on the value of tuition reimbursement and medical benefits, first-generation students’ focus on family is evident in their preference for family-friendly benefits. For example, although both first-generation and non-first generation students rated on-site daycare facilities as the least important benefit, first-generation students still saw this benefit as more important than did their peers.

    Differences among family-oriented benefits may reflect the demographics of first-generation students, especially in terms of age and culture.

    The First-Generation Students Report is based on data collected through NACE’s 2016 Student Survey; data were collected from February 16, 2016, through April 30, 2016. Through NACE’s college members, this survey collected data from 23,282 respondents across all degree and year levels; the focus of this report is the 5,013 graduating seniors who identified as first generation (1,925) or non-first generation (3,088). The full report is available at ; highlights are available in “First-Generation Students and Job Success,” which appeared in the November 2016 issue of the NACE Journal.

    Figure 1: Benefits, rated by importance

    Benefit First Generation Non-First Generation
    Tuition reimbursement 3.7 3.4
    100% employer-paid medical insurance 3.7 3.5
    Family friendly benefits 3.6 3.3
    On-site daycare facilities 2.2 1.9
    Dental insurance 3.9 3.6
    Guaranteed annual salary increases 3.7 3.5
    Life insurance 3.6 3.5
    Telecommuting option 2.6 2.5
    Employee assistance (counseling) program 2.8 2.6
    Frequent performance reviews 3.1 3.0
    Flextime policy 3.2 3.0
    Company-matched 401(k) retirement plan 3.8 3.7
    More than two weeks of vacation 3.2 3.1
    Bonus/commission plan 3.2 3.1
    Casual dress policy 2.7 2.7
    On-site fitness center 2.5 2.5
    5-point scale: 1=Not at all important; 5=Extremely important.
    Source: First-Generation Students Report, National Association of Colleges and Employers