With 57 per cent of Canadian employees expecting flexible working arrangements to continue post-coronavirus pandemic, 54 per cent of Canadian employers are adopting a hybrid working arrangement, according to a new survey by Mercer Canada.

The survey found 61 per cent of employees said they prefer to work from home and, currently, 77 per cent of employers offer remote work, compared to just 15 per cent pre-pandemic.

Liz Elliott, career products market leader for the west at Mercer Canada, says employers have to ask themselves if a hybrid model is truly benefiting workers or if they’re just trying to meet employees halfway between the old workplace and the new.

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“Employers know their employees want to work from home and because [employers] may be somewhat reluctant to give up their office space and traditional way of working, many have agreed on a hybrid model. But if an employee is working from home and they’ve taken time back from their commute, that value is high on their list of their priorities.”

While roughly 70 per cent of employers said they’re meeting employee demand for flexibility, they’re also taking other steps toward increased employee retention. Half (50 per cent) said they’re re-evaluating compensation and benefits offerings, while 42 per cent are revisiting strategic workforce planning and evaluating talent sourcing strategies. In addition, 61 per cent said a commitment to health and well-being is the top retention factor among incumbent employees.

Read: Remote work, employee retention key issues for post-pandemic workplaces: surveys

More than half (56 per cent) of employers said a key driver of turnover was dissatisfaction with pay and/or the ability to get more money at another company, while barriers to recruitment included the inability to find the right skills at the right price (59 per cent), a lack of job seekers with the right qualifications (47 per cent) and increased competition from abroad as companies hire outside of their traditional geographic scope (30 per cent).

Elliott says these findings are especially true for technology workers. “Many employers can’t keep them because they’re leaving for better pay. There’s more demand for technical talent than there is supply and the geographic boundaries of hiring have broken down. We’ve seen U.S. employers reaching into Canadian talent pools.

“We used to have a work environment where employers had the power over work hours and location. That pattern’s been disrupted and there’s a power shift in demand. Organizations are having to be very competitive for talent and employees are demanding more flexibility, the opportunity to work from wherever they want and what hours they want to work.”

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