7 in 10 Canadian employers can’t meet workers’ benefits demands

One-third of employers plan to boost employee benefits in 2024: survey

7 in 10 Canadian employers can’t meet workers’ benefits demands

Workers’ demand for benefits are increasing in Canada, and most employers just can’t keep up, according to a survey.

Overall, 42% of employers say employees are asking for better benefits this year compared to last due to the increased cost of living, according to the report from Express Employment Professionals.

However, 70% say it’s impossible to offer all the benefits employees want.

“Employee benefits continue to be a driver of employee attraction and retention, as the COVID-19 pandemic did not create just a short-term trend but rather a forward-thinking mindset of what truly is important to employees and their families,” says Hanif Hemani, Express franchise owner in Saskatoon, Sask.

“But the multigenerational workplace values different benefits differently. To be inclusive of employees’ wants and needs, employers have to be much more open-minded.”

How are employers adjusting workers’ benefits?

Nearly six in 10 (59%) employers say their company has modified benefits specifically in hopes of retaining current employees or attracting new ones, up from 51% last year, according to Express’ survey of 504 Canadians, conducted between Oct. 31 and Nov. 10, 2023.

Among those that have made this adjustment: 

  • 25% offered cost-of-living pay increases
  • 17% increased paid time off
  • 14% offered customizable benefits
  • 14% provided more healthcare incentives
  • 13% offered more sick leave

And 36% of employers plan to increase benefits compared to last year, a significant increase from 28% in 2022.

However, 58% of employers say their company’s traditional benefits will remain the same.

The majority of employers considered non-salary-related benefits when assessing their next employer, according to a previous report. And job-protected leave credits for a variety of reasons proved to be popular among residents of Northwest Territories, according to a government survey.

Turnover challenges with employee benefits

Not meeting employees’ benefits needs can be costly to employers, says Bill Stoller, Express Employment International CEO. 

“Turnover can cost as much as up to 150% of the departing employee’s salary, not to mention the strain on the remaining staff.” 

However, it’s impossible to meet every employees’ every benefit desire, he says.

His solution: “Choose the ones that resonate the most with your workforce. Investing in people is what makes them stay.”

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