Canadian Employers Report Difficulty Attracting Critical-Skill Employees

October 19, 2011 ( - Many Canadian companies are finding it relatively easy to attract or retain workers, with one major exception – critical-skill employees.

The Towers Watson Talent Management and Rewards Survey found almost six out of 10 Canadian companies (57%) report problems attracting critical-skill employees – compared to 20% for their workforce overall. Forty-three percent also have difficulty attracting top-performing employees. Additionally, more than one third (39%) are experiencing challenges retaining critical-skill employees.  

Overall, 60% of Canadian respondents report that employees have been working more hours over the past three years, and just under half (47%) expect this trend to continue over the next three years. Additionally, a quarter (25%) of the employers surveyed said their employees have been using less of their vacation or personal time off over the past three years.  

The study also found that almost half (48%) of Canadian organizations are concerned about the long-term effects of changes they made during the recession on their employees’ ability to maintain a healthy balance between work and their personal lives. Employees, who were surveyed separately, consistently ranked work-related stress as the top reason they would leave an organization.   

Given the ongoing economic and workforce pressures, almost two-thirds (62%) of Canadian organizations reported making significant changes in the HR area – reward and talent management strategies, organizational structure, job evaluation process, and competencies – and many expect to continue to do so.  

The 2011 North American Towers Watson Talent Management and Rewards Survey was conducted in May and June of 2011, and includes responses from 98 organizations in Canada and 218 from the United States (see Majority of Companies Expect Employees to Work More Hours).