Employers underestimate employees' desire to quit, EY says

18 October 2023 Consulting.ca 2 min. read
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Employers are underestimating their employees’ desire to quit, according to the EY 2023 Work Reimagined Survey.

A majority (57%) of Canadian employers said slowing economic growth is reducing employees’ likelihood to quit, compared to less than half of Canadian employees saying so. A quarter of employees told EY they are likely to quit their job in the next 12 months, with Gen Z and millennials the likeliest to leave.

Inflation pressures have kept pay a top concern for 40% of employees, but it was only the third-highest concern for employers.

“Employers are at risk of underestimating the fluidity of the labor market, but with the right strategies in place, organizations can preserve their talent and ultimately build trust,” said Danielle Laramée, head of people advisory services 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.”

Nearly half (45%) of office workers prefer to be fully remote, while a majority of employers (56%) want their staff in the office two to three days per week.

Employers underestimate employees' desire to quit, EY says

Employers may also risk overestimating the sway of flexibility in attracting talent – with 85% thinking offering flexibility will improve their ability to recruit talent, compared to 62% of employees.

“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, people advisory services at EY Canada.

Workers and employers have a generally positive outlook on generative AI (genAI), with 42% of employees expecting the tech to improve flexibility and 84% of employers using or planning to use the tech in the next 12 months.

However, though workers and employers both ranked “learning and skills” as a top factor to ensure employees’ ability to thrive in new ways of working, only 22% of employers are planning to deliver genAI 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 added.