Offering Personal Finance Support May Help Retain Higher Ed Employees, Particularly Younger Ones

As many as 20% of higher ed workers – mostly younger employees – say they’ll probably or definitely look for new jobs by the end of the year

NEW YORK (July 26, 2022) – As many higher ed employees look to change jobs, a new report shows that helping them better manage personal finances may help colleges and universities retain them.

As many as 20% of higher ed employees will probably or definitely search for new employment by the end of the year, according to the report.

Responding to job hunting among higher ed employees,” a joint study by the TIAA Institute and the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), quantifies potential turnover among the full-time higher education workforce in 2022 and relates this to employment satisfaction.

“Employee retention has become an institutional priority as the Great Resignation takes root in higher education,” said Melissa Fuesting, CUPA-HR senior survey researcher. “Median voluntary employee turnover among U.S. colleges and universities was 13% between 2021 and 2022, the highest level since CUPA-HR began collecting turnover data in 2018. This research provides data and insights to inform institutional strategy development.”

Findings indicate that employees under 40 years old have the lowest levels of job satisfaction and are the most likely to look for a job, with 12% indicating they will definitely seek new employment by the end of 2022 and 14% who probably will. Salary is the leading source of dissatisfaction.

Among those under age 40 likely to look for new employment:
● 27% typically find it difficult to make ends meet.
● 22% are not saving for retirement.
● 33% are significantly debt constrained.
● 72% do not have non-retirement savings to cover one month of living expenses.

“ A significant share of the higher ed workforce will job hunt this year,” said Paul Yakoboski, TIAA Institute senior economist. “How can colleges and universities respond? They can focus on helping employees, particularly younger ones, better manage their personal finances. Such initiatives should cover budgeting and cash flow management, including strategies to “free up” money. Initiatives could also involve debt management assistance and planning for retirement. Demonstrating a
commitment to employee financial well-being sends a strong signal that they are truly valued by their institution.”

Among older higher ed employees, fewer than 20% of those between the ages of 40 and 59 are likely to job hunt, as are fewer than 10% of those 60 and older, as would be expected among those approaching retirement age.

The report notes a number of reasons why retention is important in higher education. Beyond the costs of hiring and training new employees, turnover can significantly impact institutions in ways difficult to measure, such as the loss of key talent, future leaders, departmental and interdepartmental rapport, and institutional knowledge.

See the full report “Responding to job hunting among higher ed employees .”

Press contact: TIAA Media Relations P888-200-4062 /

About the TIAA Institute
The TIAA Institute helps advance the ways individuals and institutions
plan for financial security and organizational effectiveness. The institute
conducts in-depth research, provides access to a network of thought
leaders, and enables those it serves to anticipate trends, plan future
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CUPA-HR is the recognized authority on compensation surveys for higher education, with its salary surveys designed by higher ed HR professionals for higher ed HR professionals and other campus leaders. CUPA-HR has been collecting data on the higher ed workforce for more than 50 years, and we maintain one of the largest workforce databases in existence. Learn more about CUPA-HR research .

About TIAA
TIAA is a leading provider of secure retirements and outcome-focused investment solutions to millions of people and thousands of institutions. It is the #1 not-for-profit retirement market provider, paid more than $6.4 billion in lifetime income to retired clients in 2021 and has nearly $1.3 trillion in assets under management (as of 3/31/2022).

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