Offering the right benefits to your employees is one of the simplest and most affordable ways to boost your employee retention rates. But what benefits do employees actually want most? In our most recent Randstad Employer Brand Research (REBR) survey, we explored what benefits are most desirable to employees in each sector. 

The manufacturing sector had one of the highest rates of turnover. 22% of manufacturing workers changed jobs, compared to 18% across all sectors. One of the key reasons for this is a disconnect between the benefits that employers in this sector offer, and the benefits that workers want. If you’re operating in the manufacturing sector and looking for ways to boost your employee retention, here are 5 highly sought-after benefits you should look at.


1. competitive salary and benefits

The manufacturing sector, perhaps more than most industries, is very pay-driven. The median manufacturing worker in Canada makes $37,600 annually. That makes it one of the lowest-paid sectors in Canada, so it makes sense that workers are incentivized to swap employers for even relatively minor pay increases. Non-monetary benefits are also important to workers in the manufacturing sector. Many workers don’t have access to common benefits. Just 40% of Canadian workers in the manufacturing sector said they have access to vacation benefits, 57% said their employer offers healthcare benefits, and 41% said their employer offers flexible working hours. Each of these benefits is a chance for your organization to stand out and offer something that is difficult for workers to find in other workplaces in the industry.

Download this year salary guide to learn more about salary trends, detailed salary data for hundreds of job titles and locations across Canada based on entry, intermediate, and senior experience levels.

2. strong work-life balance

Almost half (49%) of workers in the manufacturing industry said that work-life balance is a top consideration when they’re looking for a new job. The manufacturing industry can be a gruelling one for workers. Many manufacturing employees spend long days on their feet in active roles that require them to perform repetitive tasks that can be hard on their bodies. So it’s understandable that work-life balance and their ability to access downtime is a top consideration for workers. When you work in a physically demanding job, your ability to access adequate downtime to rest, recover so you can feel safe at work is important. Many workers in these sectors also have families and children and the ability to spend time with their family and socialize outside of work is important to them. 

3. job security

Job security is another important consideration for workers in the manufacturing industry. Workers in lower-paying roles often live paycheck to paycheck or have little education, so having a role they feel secure in is important to them. They often look for employers who can offer guaranteed work. Permanent or long-term roles are often preferred by workers, as are jobs with guaranteed full-time hours or locked-in shifts that don’t change week to week. If you rely on the flexibility of temporary or shift workers, offering them consistent shifts and ensuring that they feel secure in their ability to access work as often as they need to make a living is important.

4. pleasant working atmosphere

Work culture matters in manufacturing, too. Workers spend a lot of time at work every day, so it makes sense they’re looking for an environment where they feel safe, comfortable and accepted. Do you offer extensive training and support to your workers? Are colleagues encouraged to get to know one another and socialize? Do managers offer a supportive leadership style? Is the atmosphere on your production floor relaxed and casual? Younger generations, in particular, are prioritizing work culture, sometimes even over their salary. If they don’t feel like they fit in with coworkers, or that the company’s values align with theirs, they’re ready to move on sooner rather than later. Be upfront about your company’s goals and what your working environment is like. Being transparent (about both the good and the bad) from the beginning ensures that workers come into your workplace with their eyes wide open.

5. opportunities for career advancement

33% of manufacturing workers said opportunities to advance their career is a top driving factor when they’re looking for work. As employees pick up skills and become experts in their roles, they often seek out opportunities to be promoted into senior or supervisory roles. Companies that have strong internal promotion structures tend to lead to stronger teams and happier employees, and that holds true in the manufacturing sector, too.

When employees reach a ceiling in their role, having other internal roles for them to transfer to can be a huge perk and boost your retention rates. That way if an employee finds their role is no longer fulfilling, they have other options to advance besides looking outward. Offering opportunities to advance is a win-win as it’s good for employers, too. Promoting from within helps you build a strong pipeline of talent that already knows your business well and requires less training and development to get up to speed.  If your organization offers cross-training, make it clear that there are other opportunities that can be explored within the company.

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To help you crack the code and decipher what benefits Canadians actually want from their employers, we did a deep dive into the benefits and perks that candidates can't say no to!

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