April 13 ,2015 | by Erin O’Neill

Should companies do more to help entry-level workers’ education?

Should companies do more

Adding to the executive education funds provided by several companies, we explore if employers offering educational sponsorships to entry-level employees would be beneficial.

Following Starbucks and McDonald’s announcements in the past month stating that educational funding for employees would now be extended to cover four years of education, it may be worth looking at whether employees and organisations could benefit from encouraging entry-level workers to study.

They also said workers would get a pay rise, and be able to earn paid time off.

The consequences arising from increased pay and benefits for entry-level workers, most commonly offered by large and successful companies, could prove problematic for start-ups and smaller organisations. But, in the long run, the skills developed by employees could also benefit the companies in concern.

Makes financial sense

Paul Myers, internal recruitment manager at NonStop Recruitment said: ‘It goes without saying that smaller firms may struggle to support the financial burden of sponsoring their own staff through education. However, in the long term, the improved skills and knowledge gained could make prudent financial sense.’

Realistically, the sponsoring of education for employees simply may not be an option for many smaller companies who do not have the financial security.

Mr Myers added: ‘The financial burden could potentially prove too much for smaller firms to take advantage of.’

Loyalty to their employers

There are many benefits to sponsoring employees through education. If an employer has supported a low-level employee through a sponsored education programme, they are often less likely to leave after a short amount of time, feeling a sense of loyalty to their sponsor.

Steve Thompson, managing director at Forward Role Recruitment, said: ‘The typical digital marketer, for example, stays in a role less than 2 years on average. To recruit their replacement and train them is expensive, not to mention the less obvious costs to the business of losing their skills.’

Mr Thompson added: ‘Investing in education and training could realistically be seen as a cost saving if it has a tangible impact on retention.’

Some employers will add terms and conditions to their sponsorships, with clauses that tie the employee to the company for a period of years once they have completed their education or training. This ensures that, while employees with limited access to funds can continue their professional development, employers’ investments in their staff reaps rewards through a better-skilled talent pool available to them internally.

Job market stands to benefit

There is a realistic concern that the education sector doesn’t prepare school-leavers and graduates for professional life, and that combining theoretical learning with practice would be a strong first step to take to enhance workplace productivity.

Mr Myers added: ‘Sponsoring education for staff could mean they potentially emerge with more tailored and business-relevant skills than they previously have done. The job market and industry in general would benefit because employees’ would have more refined skill sets.’

‘A little knowledge goes a long way and investing in this skills development could really benefit firms in the long run.’







Erin O’Neill

Erin O’Neill is an LSBF News Writer who reports on small business, careers, technology and education news.

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