Canadians place high expectations on employer benefits amid hot labour market: RBC Insurance poll

  • Majority of Canadians (68 per cent) would take a job with a good benefits plan over another job that pays more, but does not have a benefits plan
  • Nearly half of younger working Canadians indicate that their employer’s benefit plans have not adequately met their health and wellness needs in the past year
  • Close to 50 per cent of new long-term disability claims at RBC Insurance for younger employees are mental-health related

Toronto, ON (Oct. 15, 2020) – As Canadian businesses emerge from challenges of extended pandemic-related lockdowns, they now face the hurdle of attracting and keeping their workers amid record-high labour shortages. In this increasingly competitive job market, many employees are prioritizing workplace benefits plans. A recent Ipsos poll conducted by RBC Insurance signaled that a majority of Canadians (68 per cent) would rather take a job with a good benefits plan, over another job that pays more, but does not have a benefits plan.

“It’s been such a challenging and unpredictable year for so many working Canadians, so it’s no surprise to see more employees prioritizing their health and wellness needs alongside other job considerations,” said Julie Gaudry, Head of Group Benefits, RBC Insurance. “And with the broader recent trend of people leaving their roles as a result of job dissatisfaction, businesses must consider the value of benefits to better support employee mental and financial health.”

Younger Workers Show Willingness to Address Mental Health Needs

The pandemic has seemingly opened the door to a better understanding of individual mental health needs. Among RBC Insurance group plan members for example, nearly half (49 per cent) of new group long-term disability claims for younger employees (18-35) are related to mental health in 2021, which is trending upward since 2019. Moreover, nearly half of younger Canadian employees surveyed indicated their benefits plan had not sufficiently addressed their health and wellness needs in the past year.

The good news for businesses though is that the majority (68 per cent) of working Canadians still have positive feelings towards their employer – an increase of 8 percentage points since 2019. Canadian businesses can no doubt continue to attract and retain the next generation of the country’s young talent, especially with a good benefits plan that meets the needs of their employees’ physical and mental health.

“Younger workers in particular are reevaluating their personal needs and taking more proactive steps to address their mental health concerns,” said Gaudry. “It will be crucial for benefits providers and employers to keep up with the changing needs of a younger workforce.”

How wellness supports can encourage physical and mental health

In response to the continued demand for additional wellness support, RBC Insurance is now offering a Wellness Spending Account as an option for plan administrators to help employees offset the costs of leading a healthy lifestyle.

While amounts and covered expenses vary by policy, businesses can leverage these spending accounts by encouraging employees to prioritize and personalize their health spending in the following ways:

  • Health products or services: Health-related products or services, including fitness trackers, running shoes or yoga sessions, can help improve the physical well-being of those negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Hobbies: From cooking to art classes or guitar lessons, hobbies can have an especially positive impact on mental health, in addition to building lasting, positive habits.
  • Fitness Memberships & Team Sports: Group activities, such as fitness classes or recreational sports, not only makes exercise more fun, but can also reduce social anxiety, especially when family or friends can join-in. Wellness spending accounts can be used to reduce club or team registration fees and promote positive social and wellness habits.

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About the Survey

These are some of the findings from an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of RBC Insurance. For this survey, a sample of 1,001 working Canadians ages 18 and over were interviewed between April 10 to 13, 2021. The precision of online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the results are accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had all working Canadians adults aged 18 and older been polled. Credibility intervals are wider among subsets of the population.

About RBC Insurance

RBC Insurance® offers a wide range of life, health, home, auto, travel, wealth and reinsurance advice and solutions, as well as creditor and business insurance services to individual, business and group clients. RBC Insurance is the brand name for the insurance operating entities of Royal Bank of Canada, one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies. RBC Insurance is among the largest Canadian bank-owned insurance organizations, with approximately 2,500 employees who serve more than four million clients globally. For more information, please visit

Source: RBC Insurance

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