This report is one of two based on the 2011-2012 Towers Watson Retirement Attitudes Survey. The findings examine how the financial crisis has prompted Canadian employees to re-evaluate workplace rewards and the impact of retirement programs on attraction and retention. The second report, Canadian Workers Rethink Retirement, highlights employee's attitudes toward their household finances and retirement readiness.

Survey Highlights:

  • Canadian workers look to their employers to help them prepare for retirement and identify personal savings, employer-sponsored retirement plan(s) and social security benefits as their top three expected sources of retirement income. While a majority of Canadian respondents are satisfied with their retirement plan, satisfaction tapers off among older workers.
  • A significant percentage of employees are not satisfied with employer-provided retirement information and tools. Although reactions vary, Canadians find face-to-face advice and web-based tools most effective and traditional mailings least effective.
  • As financial insecurity has become widespread, Canadian workers are increasingly interested in a secure rewards package with retirement benefits they can count on. Many respondents would trade off pay increases in exchange for guaranteed or more generous retirement benefits. Older Canadians — especially those with defined benefit (DB) plans — are most willing to surrender pay, bonus opportunities and, to a lesser extent, paid time off (PTO) for a larger and more secure retirement benefit. Canadians of all ages are also willing to relinquish control over investing their retirement assets in exchange for a guaranteed retirement benefit.
  • Canadian workers’ greater appetite for security is affecting their employment decisions. The survey shows a similar shift in the U.S. regarding the attraction and retention powers of retirement programs, particularly among DB plan participants. Canadian DB plan participants of all ages identify their retirement plan as an important reason for taking and remaining at their current job. Both younger and older employees ranked their DB plan as one of their top four reasons for taking their current job, along with job security, base pay and health care benefits.
  • This research shows strong evidence that DB plan sponsors have more stable workforces than organizations with only a defined contribution (DC) plan or group registered retirement savings plans (GRRSPs). DB plans are particularly effective at attracting security-minded workers who view their job as potential career employment. Employees expect their organization’s retirement plan to help them prepare for retirement.