Magazine article University Business

The New World of Benefits: Today's Job Candidates Want Choice and Customization to Match Their Lifestyle

Magazine article University Business

The New World of Benefits: Today's Job Candidates Want Choice and Customization to Match Their Lifestyle

Article excerpt

As director of talent acquisition at Kansas State University, Roberta Maldonado Franzen became a bit surprised by the kinds of employee benefit questions that job candidates were asking during interviews last year.

The university is in Manhattan, Kansas, often referred to as the "Little Apple." Of the estimated 1,500 people who apply for jobs each year, she says at least 15 percent ask whether the Little Apple supports museums and theaters. Those concerns have prompted the schools recruiters to mention cultural benefits during conversations with job candidates and to promote them in marketing materials.

The on-campus Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art and McCain Auditorium hosts many events ranging from ARTSmart Programs for Children to shows featuring the Blue Man Group and Vienna Boys Choir, Maldonado Franzen says. "The Beach museum director is from Chicago and brings in quite a bit of diversity and events that appeal to a wide range of individuals."

Employee benefits at higher education institutions are generally robust and truly hard to beat. More than ever, job candidates are attracted to employers that offer choice or the ability to customize benefits that cater to their individual lifestyle.

Straying from the pack

After healthcare, the most requested benefits among job candidates are flexible work schedules and career development or continuing education, according to several higher education institutions. Maldonado Franzen says at least half of job candidates also inquire about tuition assistance. Those applying for faculty positions focus on research support and funding, availability of graduate students for research projects, and trailing spouse benefits.

She believes the next wave of benefits will involve job sharing, where two same-level employees perform the full range of duties associated with one full-time post. It's common in the corporate world when a staff member can't work full time because of health or personal commitments but the number of hours required for the job can't be reduced.

"It would be great as part of our 2025 plan to introduce job sharing to help us recruit and attract millennials," Maldonado Franzen says, although not many schools offer that option. …

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