While employers recognize employee benefits are an important part of attracting and retaining talent, seven in 10 (70 per cent) say it’s impossible to offer all of the benefits that employees are currently demanding, according to a new survey by the Harris Poll on behalf of Express Services Inc.

The survey, which polled more than 500 Canadian hiring decision-makers, found more than two-fifths (42 per cent) said employees are asking for better benefits this year compared to last due to the increased cost of living.

Read: 47% of Canadian employees relying on workplace benefits to improve well-being: report

While more than half (58 per cent) of employers said their traditional benefits will remain the same, more than a third (36 per cent) said they plan to increase benefits compared to the previous year, up from 28 per cent in 2022.

Six in 10 (59 per cent) employers said they’ve modified benefits specifically to retain current employees or attract new ones, up from 51 per cent in 2022. These changes include offering cost-of-living raises (25 per cent), increased paid time off (17 per cent), customizable benefits packages (14 per cent), additional health-care incentives, such as gym memberships and mental-health resources (14 per cent), improved retirement plans (13 per cent) and increased sick leave (13 per cent).

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

Read: Expert panel: How plan sponsors are navigating benefits costs, innovations in 2024