Income level influences 'great reckoning'

'One size doesn’t fit all anymore. We’ve been saying that for a while now in total rewards'

Income level influences 'great reckoning'

While there has been all this buzz around the “great resignation,” 63 per cent of Canadian workers are actually not looking to change jobs, according to a report from Mercer.

And this number has dropped from 71 per cent pre-pandemic.

Less than one in five (18 per cent) are seriously considering a move and another 19 per cent are neutral on the matter, found the survey of 1,000 Canadian workers.

“What we’re seeing is that it’s not a great resignation, it’s a ‘great reckoning.’ And it’s really a change in the employment deal, and what employees want from their companies, what they want from their employers,” says Allison Griffiths, rewards partner at Mercer, in speaking with Canadian HR Reporter.

“The employees that we had two years ago are very different people than the employees we have today. Everyone’s changed because of the pandemic. And so what people need to be productive and engaged in their work is a little different.”

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A matter of income

What workers care about most differs between high-income and low-income earners, according to Mercer.

Those that earn more than $60,000 annually are more concerned about:

  1. Physical Health & Fitness
  2. Workload and Work-life Balance
  3. Personal Fulfillment and Purpose
  4. Pace of Life and Free Time

On the flip side, those making less than $60,000 per year are more concerned about:

  1. Ability to Retire
  2. Covering Monthly Expenses
  3. Personal Debt

Among those looking to switch jobs, low-wage workers (56 per cent) are also far more likely to cite their current pay being insufficient compared with high-wage workers (42 per cent).

Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of Canadian workers’ wages are falling behind rising inflation, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

“Low-income earners were also most likely to cite insufficient pay as a reason for leaving. These workers struggle with economic stability, so pay outranked other reasons why they would consider leaving their jobs,” according to Mercer’s report titled Inside employees' minds: The truth about what employees in Canada want.

“In many organizations, these workers haven’t been a priority. Wages have stagnated behind inflation as employers compete to hire at the lowest cost. Employers need to think differently about frontline workers and deliver a value proposition that addresses their needs.”

Allison Griffiths

Addressing these differing needs can be challenging, says Griffiths.

“There is no easy solution… One size doesn’t fit all anymore. We’ve been saying that for a while now in total rewards, but I think that’s more true than ever as we come out of the pandemic.”

Listening to employees is a key first step, she says.

“When you’re thinking about designing an employee value proposition or total rewards strategy, understanding your employees is half the battle. And so understanding that low-income employees have different things that are keeping them up at night than higher-wage employees is an important distinction,” says Griffiths.

“And how you use that information will depend on the type of organization you are.”

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