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Two thirds of employed
Canadians are workplace
flight risks: ADP Survey

“The Uninspireds”, “The Casual Daters” and “The Dissed” are looking for greener pastures

Toronto, September 20, 2016 - As back-to-work season sets in, almost two thirds (65%) of Canadian workers are prepared to leave their current employer, according to the latest ADP Canada Sentiment Survey. From workers who are actively looking for a new role to a large cohort that would jump ship for the right offer, employers should be paying attention.

“This new research is a wake-up call for employers who are at risk of losing key talent,” said Jo Ann Miele, Senior Director, Talent & Organizational Development at ADP Canada. “Employers can use a number of levers to improve employee retention, but knowing which ones to pull requires meaningful, ongoing dialogue with their employees.”

Who’s ready to go?

Workplace flight risks

ADP Canada’s Sentiment Survey reveals three types of flight risks:

The Uninspireds: this is a large cohort comprising one third of the workforce (33 percent) that feel no great loyalty to their current employer, and are easy prey for competitors looking to build up their teams. This group includes a diverse spectrum of workers, including bored superstars to under-achieving clock-punchers. “Consider giving your stars special projects that expose them to new challenges, opportunities and areas within the organization,” says Miele. “Teambuilding or social activities, community giving programs and recognition at key milestones can inject energy and loyalty, and improve performance and retention.”

The Casual Daters: this cohort is the 16 percent of the workforce that is casually interested in a new opportunity. While they haven’t kicked their job search into high gear they are keeping tabs on job boards and professional networking platforms such as LinkedIn. “Managers should meet regularly with their staff to understand what’s important to them, and what they expect,” says Miele. “Compensation is a common reason to move on, so employers should consider benchmarking their total compensation – salaries, benefits and other perks to ensure they are competitive.”

The Dissed: this group represents the dissatisfied, disengaged and disaffected 16 per cent of the workforce that is actively looking for a new role. “Not all jobs are right for all people, and any company will have a small number of people looking to move on. This kind of turnover is healthy, but when it’s a significant percentage of your workforce, that signals a more serious issue”, warns Miele. “In particular, you will want to watch for high performers who are quietly suffering; an employee who has checked out rarely checks back in.” Miele recommends regular coaching conversations focused on goal achievement and peer feedback as tools to identify employees who may be in danger of leaving. “Regular one-on-ones with high performers can also surface urgent but reversible issues before these people become disengaged,” she adds.

What moves them?

The study also reveals that while compensation is the leading motivation for change, non-monetary quality-of-life improvements aren’t far behind. Compensation is the main reason employees say they would make a move, mentioned first or second by two-thirds of Canadian workers (66 percent). However, Canadians also cite a variety of reasons related to quality-of-life — “better work/life balance/fewer hours,” “less stress” and “better location/shorter commute” — which when combined, are mentioned first or second by 56 percent of employees.

The desire for a higher position is also a key motivator, mentioned first or second by 30 percent of employees overall, though significant age and gender differences emerge in this area. Specifically:

  • Over one third of men (36 percent), who would leave their job, say they’d do so for a better position, but fewer than one quarter of women (23 percent) say the same.
  • Age matters: Four out of ten employees (39 percent) ages 18-34 who say they might leave their jobs would do so for a better position, and an almost equal segment of those ages 35-44 (32 percent) agree. The numbers drop at 45-54 (21 percent) and 55-64 (seven percent).

“While Millennials may have a reputation for job-hopping for better opportunities, employers should note that mid-career workers are almost as likely to jump for the same reason,” says Miele. “Replacing these middle managers is much more difficult and costly than replacing more junior staff. On the other hand, if you’re in recruiting mode, you may find you have an edge if you’re able to offer more senior roles or more interesting opportunities to top candidates.”

Clear the Decks

Employee engagement takes dedicated resources and a strategy with clear, metrics-based goals that reflect the needs of employees and managers. “Busy HR teams, tasked with reducing turnover and filling key roles, are increasingly looking to automating or outsourcing routine tasks such as payroll and time and attendance tracking so they have time to focus on people,” says Miele.

According to a recent report, companies that outsource their HR can see turnover decline by up to 20 per cent over three years. Read a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting, The Total Economic Impact of ADP Workforce Now Comprehensive Services.

Survey methodology

A survey of 1509 Canadians was completed online between August 15th and August 18th 2016 using Leger’s online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

About ADP Canada

ADP Canada gives organizations of every size the tools to help their people thrive. From basic payroll to complex people management systems and analytics, we help business leaders make better decisions. Our clients trust ADP to provide strategic insights and on-demand expertise to build and inspire the workforce they need. Visit us at or follow us on Twitter @ADP_CDA.

About ADP

Powerful technology plus a human touch. Companies of all types and sizes around the world rely on ADP's cloud software and expert insights to help unlock the potential of their people. HR. Talent. Benefits. Payroll. Compliance. Working together to build a better workforce. For more information, visit

For more information or to arrange an interview with JoAnn Miele:

Eric McLean
Environics Communications

Fahd Pasha
Environics Communications

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