The Great Resignation is in full swing and impacting employers across the country. A recent survey we conducted with Ipsos shows that 36% of blue-collar workers and 21% of white-collar workers in Canada have changed jobs within the last 12 months.

While there are some signs that the rise of the Great Resignation may be slowing down, our study indicates that 16% of both blue and white-collar workers in Canada still anticipate changing jobs in the upcoming 12 months. This factor could put your organization at risk for higher turnover rates.

With the new hire costs floating around 21% of the position’s current salary, this level of migration in the job market could be disastrous for your organization. To overcome this challenge and reduce the risk of increased hiring costs, it’s crucial to make employee retention a top priority.

The first step in improving retention rates, however, is to understand why employees are considering leaving your organization in the first place. With this information in hand, you can develop an employee retention strategy that drives results. To help you with this process, we have compiled a list of the top five reasons Canadian workers are leaving their jobs.


1.  competitive compensation

According to our research, both blue and white-collar workers rank compensation as the number one motivator for changing jobs. In fact, 65% of blue-collar and 60% of white-collar workers would consider changing jobs for a higher salary. This number jumps to more than 70% when it comes to young, blue-collar workers aged 18 to 34.

The reality is that if your organization is not offering competitive salaries at all levels, you’re at a significantly higher risk of experiencing increased turnover rates. The problem for many employers is that salaries have shifted in recent years, and they’ve failed to make the necessary adjustments to remain competitive.

The combination of emerging labour shortages, the growing skills gap, and increased competition in the job market have pushed salaries higher for many positions.  If your company has not recently compared your current salary offerings with industry standards, now is the time. This information will allow your organization to set salary offerings that have the power to not only attract new candidates, but to retain your current workers as well.

2.  improved benefits

It’s important to realize that workers’ expectations have changed significantly over the last few years. While employees have always considered benefits, such as healthcare, pensions and life insurance, indispensable, today’s workers are willing to change jobs to secure the benefits they want.

In fact, our research shows that more than one-in-three Canadian workers would consider changing jobs for better benefits. More specifically, blue-collar workers rank improved benefits as the second leading motivator for changing jobs (38%), while white-collar workers list better benefits as the third leading motivator (35%).

Today’s workers also tend to be a bit savvier. They will carefully evaluate these benefits to determine exactly what options are available. It’s critical for your organization to not only assess its current benefit package to ensure it’s comparable to the competition, but that it’s also delivered in a way that both current and prospective workers understand the benefits available to them.

3.  more flexible work schedule

One of the most profound ways the pandemic shifted workers’ expectations is the increased demand for a healthy work-life balance. Many workers faced extra challenges in their personal lives, such as homeschooling their children and caring for aging parents. In doing so they realized the need for more flexibility in their work schedules.

Even with some of the effects of COVID-19 starting to subside, workers are not ready, or willing, to lose the ability to maintain a flexible work schedule. In fact, 37% of white-collar workers and 33% of blue-collar employees would consider new job options with more flexible scheduling.

The challenge for employers is that flexible work schedules look different to various employees. Some employees want the ability to work from home, when possible, with the expectation of only heading into the office when necessary. Others want to be able to choose what hours and days of the week they work to better accommodate their needs at home. Still, other employees find it necessary to increase their hours to full-time work or decrease their schedule to a part-time workload, depending on their specific life circumstances.

Employers looking for ways to improve retention rates must add some layers of flexibility to their employee’s work schedules if possible. It’s important to carefully examine both your company’s and employees’ needs to determine what type of flexible work schedules will enable the organization to match workers’ expectations while also meeting production goals.

4.  better career advancement opportunities

It should come as no surprise to learn that workers are leaving their current roles for the opportunity to advance their careers. In fact, our research shows that better career advancement opportunities are one of the top motivators for changing jobs for both blue-collar (30%) and white-collar (35%) workers.  

While career advancement is not a new motivating factor, the lack of skilled talent in the job market means that employers can’t risk losing their top talent for this reason. Instead, it’s crucial for your organization to develop a strong career development program that gives employees the ability to advance their careers within your company. To be effective, this program must be fair, objective and available to employees at all levels.

5.  increased training and skill development programs

Today’s workers are also concerned about training and skill development. Nearly 30% of white-collar workers are willing to change jobs for access to more training opportunities. While only 18% of blue-collar workers rank training programs as a strong motivator for changing jobs, this percentage jumps to 30% for blue-collar workers aged 34-44.

The good news is that increasing the types of training and skill development programs available to your employees can make a direct impact on retention rates. Letting your employees know that your organization is willing to invest in their careers may be just what your company needs to prevent your workers from changing jobs.

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