The desires of Canadian 30-year-olds have a familiar ring.

Work life was quite a different experience back in our parents’ day. In exchange for putting in 30 of their best years with a company, they could expect job security, a decent wage, a generous benefits plan and, of course, a gold watch at retirement.

But then along came the 1980s and 1990s. The downsizing, outsourcing and restructuring of those two decades meant a secure job was no longer a given. Graduates were told to expect a number of different employers throughout their careers. Not surprisingly, employee loyalty declined and workers began looking out for themselves.

Meanwhile, volatile pension costs, court battles over surplus and onerous accounting rules drove many companies to do away with their gold-plated defined benefit plans, opting instead for less expensive and less risky defined contribution plans.

As costs for traditional health benefits plans rose, plan sponsors looked to plan design measures—increased deductibles, restricted formularies, co-pays and flex plans—to pass more of the cost to employees.

It was the end of an era. The gold watch took a lickin’ and didn’t keep tickin’.

But nostalgia for the good ol’ days seems to be emerging among a new breed of workers. To mark the 30th anniversary of benefits canada, we surveyed 30-year-olds across the country about their expectations for the workplace, benefits and their pension plan. Contrary to popular perceptions of Generation Y as fickle and restless, it seems they’re actually a lot like the generations that came before.

Our report looks at what the workplaces, pensions and benefits of the future would look like if 30-year-olds had their way.

Fortunately, some employers have already begun responding to the needs of the changing workforce.

For the first time, Benefits Canada is pleased to bring you Canada’s 30 Best Pensions and Benefits Plans, based on employee satisfaction surveys conducted by Hewitt Associates. The report offers a glimpse into what will attract and keep a new generation of skilled employees.

And, by now, you’ve probably noticed that Benefits Canada has a new look. A special thanks to Dave Curcio, a creative director with Rogers Publishing, who did a masterful job with the redesign. And, of course, to our editorial team, Joel Kranc, Elaine Fenech, Leigh Doyle, Brooke Smith and Craig Sebastiano, who put together an outstanding anniversary issue.

Don Bisch is the editor of BENEFITS CANADA.

For a PDF version of this article, click here.

© Copyright 2007 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the June 2007 edition of BENEFITS CANADA magazine.