In 2020, Canadian employees are looking for more than just strong compensation, with 76 per cent of respondents citing at least three weeks of vacation, followed by health and dental packages (52 per cent) and opportunities to work from home (43 per cent), according to a new survey by Hays Specialist Recruitment (Canada) Inc.

On the employer side, 42 per cent of respondents said they offer employees the freedom to work remotely as a recruiting and retention tool, 37 per cent touted flexible scheduling and 21 per cent cited the ability to compress working hours. As well, 46 per cent of employers said they’ve offered employee training over the last 12 months to increase the skills of their existing workforce.

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The survey, which polled more than 3,000 employers and employees across the country, also found 66 per cent of employers said they’re willing to exceed payroll budgets to hire the skilled talent they want. And about a third (34 per cent) said they plan to give their existing staff a salary bump in the year ahead.

However, 79 per cent said they’re suffering from a skills shortage, while 47 per cent said they consider local competition for talent and compensation one of their biggest obstacles to hiring. Only four in 10 employers said they plan to take on more permanent staff next year, a 12 per cent drop from the amount that said the same last year.

On the employee side, 58 per cent of respondents expressed a strong interest in leaving their current roles, citing pay dissatisfaction, lack of career advancement and weak company culture as primary factors.

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“It’s great to see companies tackling compensation issues, but our data shows that workplace dissatisfaction is growing alongside employers’ plans to slow the pace of hiring in 2020,” said Rowan O’Grady, president of Hays Canada, in a press release. “More pay is always a good thing, but it won’t solve issues around staff morale or career development. Larger paycheques are typically eclipsed by heightened stress and staff burnout. Balancing pay with adequate staffing is a crucial consideration.”