The Randstad Employer Brand Research reveals that there’s a significant gap between employee benefits in Canada that people want from their employers and the ones they actually receive.

We asked Canadians across generations what non-monetary employee benefits are most important to them when choosing an employer. 

Some employee benefits in Canada were universally desirable, such as healthcare and flexibility.

Other employee benefits in Canada, such as childcare, sports, and leisure activities, were more attractive to specific generations.

Fostering employee rewards, recognition, and a strong employer brand is essential for long-term growth.

Focusing on how you can offer meaningful employee benefits strengthens your relationship with your team and cements employee loyalty. 

Too often, employers scale back benefits in times like these to cut costs. 

This approach can harm your employer's brand and damage your reputation.

During crises, shifting attention to affordable yet valued non-monetary benefits demonstrates support and rewards without excessive expenses.

Smiling man with headphones and laptop sitting in a lounge environment.
Smiling man with headphones and laptop sitting in a lounge environment.

what are non-monetary benefits?

Workplace non-monetary benefits are like the secret ingredients that make employees' jobs more than just a paycheck.

They're the supportive colleagues who lend a helping hand when you're in a pinch, the sense of pride you feel when your team successfully completes a challenging project or the personal growth you experience as you conquer new professional milestones. 

These benefits come in the form of a boss who genuinely appreciates their hard work, the opportunity to learn from experienced mentors or the excitement of tackling varied tasks that keep employees engaged. 

Non-monetary benefits are the moments that turn an ordinary workday into a fulfilling journey, like the camaraderie of a team lunch or the satisfaction of seeing your ideas turn into real-world solutions.

Non-monetary benefits remind workers that a rewarding job is more than just a paycheck; it's about the connections they build, the skills they acquire, and the sense of purpose at the workplace.

healthcare and insurance

Healthcare is the most desired benefit by Canadians across generational and demographic lines, along with compassionate care leave.

Though Canada has a well-regarded universal healthcare system, depending on the province, workers expect their employers to offer additional healthcare and dental benefits on top of their provincial coverage.

84% of Canadian workers surveyed said healthcare is an attractive benefit, yet only 62% actually receive it from their current employer.

Boomers were especially attracted to working for employers who offered this benefit. 

In particular, boomers seek full or partial reimbursement of prescription glasses or contact lenses. 81% of boomers said this was important to them, but only 23% of employers offer this healthcare benefit. 

In addition to health and dental benefits, group life insurance was another desirable benefit, with 74% of Canadians indicating this benefit is important to them versus 60% who receive it.

download our employer brand research 2023 report

And gain insights on what job seekers are really looking for in their next employer. 

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flexible work 

The push toward more flexible workplaces, such as remote work, has been happening for a while now for both employers and employees.

Working parents and people with commitments outside of work can enjoy better work-life balance when they can access flexible work hours.

The ability to work from home and set their own hours is more than a nice perk, it can be life-saving for team members who don’t feel comfortable commuting to work amid a health crisis.

81% of Canadian workers said flexible work, such as choosing their own hours or working from home, is important to them. Yet, only 52% currently have access to remote work.

additional vacation

Additional paid vacation and other forms of leave (parental leave, sabbaticals, etc.) are highly desirable to Canadians. 79% of the workers surveyed indicated that they want additional vacation options, compared to the 40% who receive this benefit. 

This is the largest gap in desirability versus those who receive the benefit. It represents a real opportunity for employers to stand out and offer a highly in-demand benefit that their competitors may not. 

This benefit was especially important to Gen Xers (in the 34-54 age bracket) who are reaching their mid to late-career and after decades of hard work, are looking for opportunities to take a step back and enjoy their family life, travel, or indulge in other hobbies and passions outside of work.  

sports and leisure

Sports and leisure activities are a highly desirable employee benefit among the youngest working generations.

Young workers seek opportunities to network, socialize and stay healthy while working full-time. 42% of Gen Z want their employer to provide sports and leisure activities. 

This employee incentive is less important to older generations.

However, only 26% of boomers said they would like their employer to offer more sports and leisure activities, so this is a great benefit if you’re looking to build a strong pipeline of talented young workers who you can invest in to become your company's future. 

Promoting activities and helping your employees stay active can also have countless other benefits, including reducing your employee healthcare costs and making your employees happier and more productive, so offering this benefit is truly a win-win.

childcare services

Childcare services are another highly desirable employee benefit. In Canada, daycare and other childcare options can be prohibitively expensive if parents cannot access government-subsidized childcare.

An employer who provides on-site childcare centres or supplements childcare costs can be a highly desirable employee benefit for young families where both parents work. 

Childcare benefits were most desirable among Millennials, who are most likely to have young or school-aged children. Gen X and boomers are likely to have older children who do not require childcare, so 43% of Gen Xers and 23% of boomers rated this as a desirable benefit.

Employers who strive to bridge the gap between desired benefits and those provided can create a workplace culture that values its employees as whole individuals, offering opportunities for growth, connection, and fulfillment beyond the paycheck.

As employers continue to adapt to changing times and expectations, prioritizing these benefits can lead to a more engaged, satisfied, and loyal workforce.

get the salary guide

Having explored non-monetary benefits, you may be wondering how to approach the salary question. 

If so, download our free salary guide. After all, a competitive salary remains the most important factor of choice for employers and potential candidates. 

With our guide, find out if what you currently offer, and the value of the benefits you provide, can compete with current market trends in terms of total compensation.

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And stay up-to-date on the latest salary trends!

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