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News   November 15, 2023   by Adam Malik

The gaps between employee and employer expectations

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A quarter of Canadian employees are debating whether or not they should leave their jobs next year, according to a new survey.

The younger generation — Gen Z and Millennials — are most inclined to this sentiment, according to the EY 2023 Work Reimagined Survey. This potential exodus highlights the underlying differences in perception between employers and their workforce.

While Canadian companies prioritize talent attraction and recruitment, many seem to misjudge their employees’ motivations. For instance, while almost six in 10 (57 per cent) of employers are under the impression that a slowing economy will deter staff from resigning, less than half of the surveyed employees agreed with this view.

Compensation adds to this divide. Pay is the leading concern for 40 per cent of employees but just third on the list of employers’ worries.

“Employers are at risk of underestimating the fluidity of the labour market, but with the right strategies in place, organizations can preserve their talent and ultimately build trust,” explained Danielle Laramée, people advisory services leader at EY Canada. “This starts by providing total rewards that reflect employees’ changing priorities, taking into account factors like the upskilling needed to succeed in a world of continued work flexibility.”

Employers might also be overvaluing the allure of job flexibility in their recruitment strategies. The survey indicates a significant disparity as 85 per cent of employers are convinced that flexibility will enhance their talent acquisition, but a smaller 62 per cent of employees share the enthusiasm of the perk.

“With inflation on the rise, it’s no surprise that higher pay is now the biggest motivation for changing jobs, particularly given that most Canadians are already working for companies that offer flexibility in some form,” said Darryl Wright, partner of people advisory services at EY Canada.

He further added that more than a third of workers want to be fully remote but many employers (56 per cent) want their staff to be in the office two to three days per week. “That divide needs to be addressed with considerations around how businesses reshape the in-office experience.”

The dawn of generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) is painting a promising picture in the workplace landscape. Two in five (42 per cent) of employees anticipate GenAI will boost flexibility. On the employers’ side, the vast majority (84 per cent) are either already integrating or have plans to implement GenAI within the year. However, there’s a clear training gap looming. Despite both parties valuing “learning and skills” for the evolving workplace, just 22 per cent of employers are preparing to offer GenAI-focused training.

“Technology won’t completely upend the structural talent issues facing employers, but to fully benefit from new tools, the workforce needs to be trained and empowered to reimagine work in a way that embraces new capabilities and still keeps humans at the center,” Wright said.

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