Canada Employed

  • Canadian Employees Want Better Benefits; Companies Say They Can’t Keep Up

    TORONTO - April 10, 2024

    • Outdated One-Size-Fits-All Benefits Packages Not Making the Cut

    Benefits are an important part of attracting and retaining employees, but most companies (70%) say it’s impossible to offer all the benefits employees are currently demanding, according to a recent Express Employment Professionals-Harris Poll survey.

    Close to half of Canadian companies (42%) say employees are asking for better benefits this year compared to last due to the increased cost of living. However, delivering on such requests is difficult according to companies.

    A majority of companies (58%) say their company’s traditional benefits will remain the same. But more than a third of employers (36%) report plans to increase benefits compared to last year, a significant increase from 2022 (28%).

    Furthermore, the majority (59%) say their company has modified benefits specifically in hopes of retaining current employees or attracting new ones — another significant increase from last year (51%). The changes have included offering cost of living raises (25%), increased paid time off (17%), customizable benefit packages (14%), additional healthcare incentives such as gym memberships and mental health resources (14%), improved retirement plans (13%) and/or increased sick leave (13%).


    Employers are hoping these modifications will help alleviate turnover, which 1 in 3 Canadian companies expects to increase this year. As another recent Express Employment Professionals-Harris Poll survey found, better benefits being offered by another company was one of the top reason employees are leaving.

    Benefits for the Modern Workforce

    Benefits continue to be an important part of any compensation package, but the traditional ‘one-size-fits-all’ benefits packages of the past no longer suffice.

    “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,” according to Hanif Hemani, Express franchise owner in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. “But the multigenerational workplace value different benefits differently. To be inclusive of employees’ wants and needs, employers have to be much more open-minded.”

    While traditional benefits such as health benefits continue to be just as, or more, important than pre-pandemic times, benefits such as pet bereavement, flexible wellness and spending accounts, enhanced mental health supports, paid wellness days and extended sick day policies are just a few of the new initiatives that appear to be getting much more traction.

    Hemani says employers need to understand this basic fact: “A healthy and happy employee equates to a healthy bottom line for all.”

    “Employees and job seekers are looking for a whole package that includes wage, benefits, flexibility, wellness, rewards, recognition, culture and values so this is critical when looking to attract and retain great talent,” added Hemani. “Employees desire a more hybrid approach with a well-designed benefits plan that is more traditional in nature complimented with a flexible component that allows them to customize to their particular needs.”

    Despite the easing of labour shortages, continuing to shape a healthy company culture should be top of mind for business owners to avoid affecting the bottom line.

    “Turnover can cost as much as up to 150% of the departing employee’s salary, not to mention the strain on the remaining staff,” said Bill Stoller, Express Employment International CEO. “It’s not feasible to offer every desired benefit, choose the ones that resonate the most with your workforce. Investing in people is what makes them stay.”

    Survey Methodology

    The Job Insights survey was conducted online within Canada by The Harris Poll on behalf of Express Employment Professionals between Oct. 31 and Nov. 10, 2023, among 504 Canadian hiring decision-makers.

    For full survey methodology, please contact


    If you would like to arrange for an interview to discuss this topic, please contact Ana Curic at (613) 858-2622 or email

    About Bill Stoller

    William H. "Bill" Stoller is chairman and chief executive officer of Express Employment International. Founded in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the international staffing franchisor supports the Express Employment Professionals franchise and related brands. The Express franchise brand is an industry-leading, international staffing company with franchise locations in the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

    About Express Employment Professionals

    At Express Employment Professionals, we’re in the business of people. From job seekers to client companies, Express helps people thrive and businesses grow. Our international network of franchises offers localized staffing solutions to the communities they serve across the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, employing 492,000 people globally in 2023 and more than 11 million since its inception. For more information, visit