Canadian employers are most worried about staff retention and well-being, but solutions vary amid economic uncertainty: new research from HOOPP and Angus Reid Group

TORONTO, Nov. 03, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The top concerns for Canadian employers in 2022 include employee burnout and losing staff, according to the Canadian Employer Pension Survey from the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) and Angus Reid Group. And while employers recognize the value of retirement benefits for addressing these concerns, the current high-inflation environment is driving them to favour wage hikes instead.

HOOPP commissioned Angus Reid Group to conduct a survey of 778 Canadian business owners and senior leaders with 20+ employees. The results provide an overview of how employers around Canada see the current economic climate’s impact on business, the state of retirement security in Canada, and the ability of retirement benefits to help with employee retention, recruitment and overall well-being.

“Current inflationary pressures are understandably leading many employers and workers to prioritize cash in hand, even as they recognize the short- and long-term value of retirement benefits,” said Steven McCormick, SVP, Plan Operations, HOOPP. “It is arguably more important than ever for leaders – in business, government and the retirement industry – to take measures that will help workers save for retirement, even when it’s challenging to do so.”

On the positive side, there was evidence in the survey of some momentum towards improved retirement security outcomes. A significant group of respondents (17%) said they had launched or enhanced retirement savings plans in the past year, or plan to do so in the year ahead.

The research showed that employers are optimistic about their businesses’ success over the coming year, with 80% being optimistic about their ability to maintain revenue and profitability. What they’re worried about is employees, with leading concerns being: greater competition for hiring (82%), employee burnout (79%), labour shortage (79%) and high turnover (77%). A strong majority are also worried about inflation (82%).

In addressing these issues, the majority of employers are currently favouring wage increases over benefit enhancements as the best way to mitigate the effects of inflation for employees (67%), and as a means to attract new employees (71%).

“But some employers may be underestimating the degree to which retirement benefits can serve both their business needs and their employees’ needs,” said Demetre Eliopoulos, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Angus Reid Group. “The survey found some significant correlations between benefits and a happy, productive work force.”

Employers reporting improved productivity are significantly more likely to favour benefits over cash in fighting inflationary pressures and recruiting new talent, compared to those with worsening productivity (45% vs. 31%). Employers reporting improved productivity are also twice as likely to be optimistic about maintaining employee morale (81% vs. 40%), retaining current talent (80% vs. 43%), and recruiting new talent (76% vs. 38%).

These findings corroborate conclusions from 2021 research by HOOPP and Common Wealth – The Value of a Good Pension: The business case for good workplace retirement plans – which showed how offering pensions can improve a company’s bottom line.

Amongst all respondents, 66% said retirement benefits help retain talent and 62% said they help recruit talent. Most also say retirement benefits are a cost-effective way to reduce financial stress for employees (85%) and more of an investment in human capital than a cost to business (78%).

Most employers (84%) are also concerned about an emerging retirement income crisis, and feel they have a responsibility to offer a pension (75%). There is also agreement that governments have a role to play, with 87% saying governments can save money by supporting more affordable and efficient pensions.

McCormick said: “While it is understandable that raising wages is a quicker fix for immediate current economic challenges, there is also widespread understanding of the power of pensions. And it’s encouraging to see there are some employers who are prioritizing retirement benefits as a way of supporting staff.”

These are the findings of a study/survey conducted by HOOPP from August 3rd to August 10th,2022 among 778 Canadian business owners and senior leaders with 20+ employees who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The survey was conducted in English and French. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/-3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. See more detailed results here.

About Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP)
HOOPP serves Ontario’s hospital and community-based healthcare sector, with more than 620 participating employers. Its membership includes nurses, medical technicians, food services staff, housekeeping staff, and many others who provide valued healthcare services. In total, HOOPP has more than 420,000 active, deferred and retired members.

HOOPP operates as a private independent trust, and is governed by a Board of Trustees with a sole fiduciary duty to deliver the pension promise. The Board is jointly governed by the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) and four unions: the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the Ontario Public Service Employees' Union (OPSEU), and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). This governance model provides representation from both management and workers in support of the long-term interests of the Plan and its members. 

About The Angus Reid Group
Angus Reid is Canada’s most well-known and respected name in opinion and market research data. Offering a variety of research solutions to businesses, brands, governments, not-for-profit organizations and more, the Angus Reid team connects technologies and people to derive powerful insights that inform your decisions.

Data is collected through a suite of tools utilizing the latest technologies. Prime among that is the Angus Reid Forum, an opinion community consisting of engaged residents across the country who answer surveys on topical issues that matter to all Canadians.


James Geuzebroek
Director, Media and External Communications