Canadians would change jobs for retirement benefits

With so much data indicating they have not and are not saving enough for their retirement, a new poll shows that Canadian workers would be willing to change jobs just to receive better retirement benefits. The poll by ADP found that 77 per cent of Canadian workers say they would consider jumping into a new job if, all other things being equal, another employer offered them greater retirement support. There was no significant difference in a willingness to change jobs among different age groups with almost 78 per cent of Millennial workers saying retirement benefits would prompt them to make a job change.

"These numbers are an indication that employers should pay close attention to what's important to their employees and to what is being offered by their competitors," says Sooky Lee, division vice-president and general manager, HR business process outsourcing at ADP Canada. "Companies track salaries to make sure they are competitive but many forget about other compensation factors such as retirement programs. Workers on the other hand take a holistic view of what's being offered and will make a switch if they see more value in the long term."

A plethora of recent reports and surveys show that Canadians simply are not saving enough for their retirement and many lack employer-sponsored pension plans.

A new Nanos research survey shows that four out of 10 Canadians aren't saving enough each month for their retirement and only 31 per cent have a workplace pension. The Broadbent Institute recently came out with a study that shows half of Canadian couples between 55 and 64 have no employer pension between them. Only 15 to 20 per cent of middle-income Canadians retiring without an employer pension plan have saved anywhere near enough for retirement. These people, now aged 55 to 64, face a dramatic drop in their standard of living in retirement, and many could spend their senior years in poverty. Further, about 47 per cent of Canadians currently have no employer pension, and even fewer younger workers have employer pensions. "The Canada Pension Plan with its recently announced enhancements still will only cover about one third of what Canadians will need in their retirement," says Lee. "There's still a big gap but at least the issue has been brought back to the forefront and may get employers to realize they have to do something to help their employees with their retirement in order to attract top talent to their organizations."

A recent survey by Morneau Shepell asking Canadian employers about their programs designed to prepare employees for retirement found that 55 per cent provided information online, 48 per cent offered group financial planning seminars and 19 per cent offered individual sessions.

Only 11 per cent offered group counselling on making the psychological transition to retirement and 27 per cent said they didn't offer any retirement planning programs.

Lee believes the desire among Canadians for more pension benefits and support is a great opportunity for small businesses to differentiate themselves from their competitors and use it to attract top talent to their organizations. "It's a great to set themselves apart not only by offering financial support but also education about retirement and planning for it through courses, group seminars, and on-line resources," Lee says. "They could even put together a retirement planning tool kit for their employees. It's a great way for employers to compete for talent."

Talbot Boggs is a Toronto-based business communications professional who has worked with national news organizations, magazines and corporations in the finance, retail, manufacturing and other industrial sectors.

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