Nine out of ten of students in the 2023 graduating class believe that employers should offer mental and emotional health benefits, a new survey finds.
Flexibility within workplace environments and work hours were also high on the list of preferences.
92% of graduating students interested in mental health awareness in the workplace is a high number, and looks like the clearest evidence yet that we're seeing a the generational shift towards tackling health needs in all their complexity.
82% of Students Say They Plan to Use Mental Health Resources in the Future
The survey, out from the student-focused virtual clinic platform TimelyCare, also found that 36% of graduating students will turn first to companies that offer mental health benefits when seeking a job.
“92% of students say employers should offer mental and emotional health benefits, and more than a third (36%) are prioritizing those companies during their job search. In general, 82% of students plan to use resources to support their mental health after graduating.”
Presumably, plenty of them have already found companies that offer the benefits they need: As of early April, 59% of seniors say they've landed a job prior to graduating, a percentage that's down only a tad from the same survey in 2022, when it reached 62%.
Covid-19's Impact Continues
Assuming a four-year undergrad path, 2023's grads would have all started their college experience with the 2019-2020 year. Needless to say, a certain novel coronavirus really disrupted everyone's Spring semester that year.
The Covid-19 pandemic has cast a long shadow ever since, as well: Nearly eight in 10 (79%) graduating students say COVID-19 “impacted their workforce preparedness,” the survey says, while 68% of them say the pandemic's impact on their mental health was their number one reason for feeling less prepared.
Companies With Flexibility Benefits Can Attract Gen Zers
The seniors also mentioned another big workplace benefit the majority approves of: Flexiblity.
Salary aside, the class of 2023 found two key factors for picking a job: Flexible work hours (72%) and a flexible work environment (49%).
The importance of vacation time (39%) and even medical benefits (45%) didn't rank as highly as offering hours outside of the standard. Over one in five (21%) even said they would like to be fully remote — even as plenty of tech businesses are rolling back that particular benefit.
Today's Workers Don't All Get the Help They Need
New graduates might face a bit of a culture clash when seeking mental health support at work, however: As we covered last month, 45% of today's employees say they’re “too busy” or “too embarrassed” to seek care — even while a full 64% of them do say that they are struggling with mental and behavioral health.
Hopefully the generational shift can continue within workplaces just as well as within higher education institutes.