Canadian employers say competition for talent (84 per cent), rising mental-health issues (63 per cent) and a focus on inclusion and diversity (48 per cent) are the top factors influencing their benefits strategy, according to a new survey by WTW.

The survey, which polled more than 5,200 employers representing 22.9 million employees around the world, found Canadian employers said they’re looking to improve their market positions on financial well-being (31 per cent), retirement plans (30 per cent) and environmental, social, and governance responsibility (29 per cent).

Half (51 per cent) of global employers cited rising costs as a key influence on benefits strategy, a percentage that increased among respondents in North America (62 per cent) as well as Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (66 per cent).

Read: U.S. employers’ health benefits costs projected to increase 8.5% in 2024: survey

Three-quarters (74 per cent) of employers said over the next two years, they plan to improve the terms of their vendor contracts in order to strengthen their benefits financing, while 55 per cent have already taken steps to re-evaluate these contracts.

More than half (59 per cent) of employers said managing plan costs is a key area of focus and 40 per cent said persistence of inflation will impact their benefits budget over the next two years. Half (50 per cent) reported meeting the needs of all employees is their focus going forward, while 45 per cent cited employee well-being.

As they look to meet employee needs, respondents said they plan to prioritize mental health support (77 per cent), health benefits (59 per cent) and inclusion and diversity (44 per cent).

Read: Survey finds 84% of employers say competition for talent impacting benefits strategy