Are Employees Using Your Education Benefits to Look for New Jobs? Maybe (and Why That’s a Good Thing)

Group of happy employees in a meeting together

You’re a growing employer, knee-deep in the talent shortage, on the hunt for great hires. 

Research says education is at the top of employees’ wish lists, and you’re in the initial phases of program consideration. 

But then you wonder. 

Training is the road to career changes. If you’re offering education, aren’t you just helping people to fish for other jobs? 

We say that, often, yes you are. And here’s why that’s a good thing. 

Learning and Earning for a Better Job? Of Course!

First, look at the data in the here and now, via survey responses to our recent Working Learning Index of 30,000 people:   

64% say education reimbursement makes them happier at work

76% say it makes them more likely to stay

82% say it made them better employees

In other words, education attracts people, and engages and retains them longer. 

Then look at the data about career desires: 

34% of employees are looking for more money

33% are looking for a new career. 

So, education helps them see a future, too. 

Benefits that Work Strategically

Those two things -- retention and upward mobility -- are not mutually exclusive. In fact, not only do they go together; smart employers are using both to their advantage, showing people opportunities for growth inside the company where the organization needs help. So you have hospitals retraining existing employees to fill much-needed tech roles; manufacturers educating frontlines for newly automated assembly positions; financial firms looking to existing employees to learn desperately needed digital skills. 

Then you have a constant stream of entry level employees moving up, and opportunity-seeking newcomers moving in to replace them. We call those pipelines. And there’s no better way to make them then by strategizing for the opportunities people want by training them to fill the skills you need. 

New data from LinkedIn further cements the retention point, showing that people who change jobs within a company are as much as 55% more likely to be on board three years later, versus those who’ve stayed in a single job all along. 

So yes, upskilling your employees does give them the tools to change jobs. And you will certainly find people looking for opportunity. 

But if you’re doing it right, you won’t have people heading for the exit door looking to get out; you may, on the other hand, have people knocking on the door to get in.

man taking notes

2019 Working Learner Index

Gain further insights from workers who are currently or have recently engaged in employer-sponsored education.

Written by: Alan Robins

November 21, 2019

About the Author

Alan Robins at Bright Horizons

As Director of Product Marketing, Alan drives original research and thought leadership for Bright Horizons education benefits programs, drawing on his extensive experience helping companies optimize education programs to support their Talent and HR objectives. Prior to Bright Horizons, Alan was at Gartner, a global leader in providing advisory services to technology and business executives, where he led new product teams in Europe and the US.