Americans have been leaving the workforce in droves, a phenomena known as "The Great Resignation". But what does the Great Resignation mean for Canadian businesses?
Research suggests that the Great Resignation hasn’t hit Canada the same way it has the United States. In fact, recent reports show that Canada’s job market is slowly recovering from the pandemic, with the national unemployment rate decreasing or remaining stable for the past 6 months.
Although this data reflects relatively little change in the rate at which Canadians are leaving the workforce, Statistics Canada’s August 2022, Labour Force Survey said that 1 in 10 permanent employees were planning to leave their job within the next 12 months which is 5.5% higher than what was seen in January 2022. While, Canadians might not be leaving the workforce altogether, they are definitely considering looking for new opportunities that better meet their expectations. Over the past 3 years, there has been a palpable shift in overall attitudes toward work, life, and how the two coincide with each other. Failure on behalf of Canadian companies to meet the shifting expectations of the Canadian workforce could lead to top talent looking for a change.
Here are a few insights that allude to a shift in how Canadian professionals are now thinking about work, and what could happen if companies don’t start adapting to these shifting attitudes.
Millions of Canadians launched their own businesses during the pandemic
According to Intuit’s Entrepreneurship Report 2022, over 2 million Canadians have launched businesses during the pandemic, and that number is still growing. Although many of these new entrepreneurs launched side hustles, this statistic does show that many Canadians are actively thinking about and investing in income streams beyond their regular jobs.
Job seekers want more than money
Workers who are considering leaving their jobs are driven by several factors. A 2022 PWC study on the future of the work place looked into the leading factors that determine whether employees are at risk of leaving. Respondents who answered that they were extremely or very likely to look for a new job, were less likely to:
- Find their job fulfilling
- Feel they can be their true self at work
- Feel fairly rewarded financially
- Feel their team cares about them
- Feel that their manager listens to them
These insights suggest that Canadians aren’t only thinking about direct financial compensation, but are also focused on how their current or potential employers will integrate into their lives, and how they will be treated at their work place.
Employees will leave over conflicting values
A 2021 study on Job Optimism said that “Twenty-seven per cent of professionals said they had a shift in perspective due to the pandemic and prefer to work for an organization that better aligns with their personal values. In addition, 75 percent of employees would leave a company whose values don’t align with their own.” This confirms our core belief that more and more professionals want to work for a company that is representative of their own values. The pressure is on for businesses to incorporate real-life values into their business model and company culture or risk losing talent to companies who put them at the forefront.
Remote work is preferred, but expectations fluctuate by industry
A 2022 Robert Hath study shows that 85% of workers are interested in hybrid or fully remote positions. A quarter of workers even say they are willing to take a pay cut for the ability to work remotely all the time. While many organizations are adapting to these expectations by offering flexible work arrangements, those that don’t will likely face challenges in attracting and retaining employees in the coming years.
The urgency to adopt a remote-first or flexible work model varies by industry. Employees in industries like financial services, tech and telecom and government are more likely to prefer remote work environments than employees in manufacturing, health care, and not-for-profit sectors.
What’s a Canadian company to do?
These insights may seem intimidating for managers and HR teams who are looking to retain their employees and attract top talent. The truth is, the state of the world is constantly fluctuating, and with that so are expectations of employees. Now is the time for business leaders to keep an open flow of communication across all levels of the organization, remain agile in their employee engagement and retention strategy, and focus on improving the employee engagement metrics that matter most to them.