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What are the overall voluntary and involuntary turnover rates for Canadian organizations?

Voluntary turnover continues to creep upwards. The 2012–13 rate was 7.3 per cent, about 1 per cent higher than the rates seen during the economic downturn. The retail sector is experiencing the greatest challenge with an average of 20.6 per cent.

Chart showing Voluntary Turnover Rates in Canadian Organizations from 2005 to 2013Defined as exits from the organization that are initiated by the employers (severances, dismissals, etc.), the involuntary turnover rate for 2012–13 is 3.7 per cent. The scientific and technical services industry had the highest involuntary turnover rate at 6.4 per cent.

To learn more about changes in voluntary turnover rates over the years and for more breakdowns of voluntary and involuntary turnover by sector and industry download the Compensation Planning 2014 report.


  • Voluntary turnover: Turnover that is due to an employee-initiated departure. Sometimes referred to as avoidable or regrettable turnover. Excludes: retirements, dismissals, severances, redundancies, transfers, deaths, and leaves (disability, parental, sabbatical, and other leaves of absence).
  • Involuntary turnover: An employee departure that is initiated by the employer (e.g., severances, dismissals, redundancies).
  • Employee turnover is calculated by first calculating the average number of employees during a one-year period (add headcount for each month in the year/12), excluding casual, contract, temporary, or seasonal

What is the overall absenteeism rate for Canadian organizations?

In 2012–13, the overall absenteeism rate was 6.9 days per employee. Health and Government are the industries with the highest absenteeism rates with 10.9 and 8.9 days respectively. For more sector and industry comparison download the Compensation Planning 2014 report.


Absenteeism is defined as absences (with or without pay) of an employee from work due to his or her own illness, disability, or personal or family responsibility for a period of at least half a day but less than 52 consecutive weeks. Excludes maternity, adoption, paternity and parental leaves, vacation and holidays, bereavement leave, and jury duty.

How do organizations measures the success of their diversity initiatives?

The top three methods Canadian organizations use to assess the success of their diversity initiatives are:

  1. achieving representation rates
  2. employee satisfaction surveys, and
  3. focus groups

Other methods include exit interviews and turnover statistics, as well as staff diversity competency self-assessments. For more information on diversity practices within Canadian organizations, please see report on Diversity: Priorities, Practices and Performance in Canadian Organizations.

How much do organizations spend per employee on learning and development in Canada and how has this changed over the years?

In 2010, Canadian organizations spent on average just under $690 per employee on learning and development. According to The Conference Board of Canada’s Learning and Development Outlook 2011, spending on learning and development in Canada fell 13 per cent since 2008, and is down 40 per cent since its peak in the early 1990s. Furthermore, from 2006 to 2010, Canadian organizations spent an average of 64 cents for every dollar spent by American organizations, which could be affecting our innovation and productivity. For more details on learning and development within Canadian organizations download Learning and Development Outlook 2011.

What is the HR staffing ratio?

The 2008 HR Trends and Metrics survey reported a median FTE-based HR staffing ratio of 2.02 HR staff per 100 employees. The report also examines in more detail the HR staffing ratio by organization size, sector, and industry. Read the in-depth findings in 2008 HR Trends and Metrics.

Do many organizations differentiate base salary increases based on employee performance?

Four out of five organizations (82 per cent) link base pay increases to performance. In 2013, “top” performers received an average base pay increase of 4.1 per cent compared with 2.7 per cent for “satisfactory” performers.

How many organizations provide benefits to part-time employees in Canada?

Overall, 91 per cent of employers offer benefits to some or all active part-time employees. To qualify for benefits, organizations typically require part-time employees to work a minimum number of hours per week (79 per cent) or a percentage of a full-time equivalent (11 per cent).

Benefits Benchmarking 2012 closely examines many important aspects related to benefits such as benefit strategy, benefits costs, health care spending accounts, and group benefits plans. For more details download Benefits Benchmarking 2012.

Do many women sit on Canadian Boards of Directors?

Firms With Women on Their Boards, by Firm SizeLarge organizations are more likely to have a female director on their boards. Ninety-two per cent of large organizations have a female director. That compares with 26 per cent of medium-sized and 28 per cent of small organizations.

For more details on the diversity of Canadian Board of Directors and for compensation information, please see the 2011 Canadian Directors’ Compensation and Board Practices report.

How much do organizations spend on rewarding and recognizing employees and what are the most common programs?

The average amount spent on recognition annually is $175 per employee. Spending in the private sector is higher at $208 per employee compared with public sector spending at $123.

The most common recognition program is for length of service (97 per cent of organizations have this programs in place). For additional trends and for a detailed look at other recognition practices, please read the Making in Meaningful: Recognizing and Rewarding Employees in Canadian Organizations report.

How is performance measured for short-term incentives?

Eighty-two per cent of organizations use corporate results to measure performance for short-term incentives, with individual results following closely behind at 74 per cent. The Making Short-Term Incentives Work for Your Organization report examines design considerations, evaluation and renewal for short-term incentive plans.

How many organizations offer flexible work arrangements to their employees and what type of programs are in place?

Flexible work hours are available in 78 per cent of organizations while telecommuting and community involvement are available in more than half of organizations. For more information on the current state of work-life practices in Canadian organizations, please see the Work and Life: The Balancing Act report.

How many employees have experienced or are experiencing a mental health issue?

According to the Building Mentally Healthy Workplaces report, 12 per cent of employees surveyed indicated that they were currently experiencing a mental health issue. Close to one-third of respondents noted that they had experienced a mental health issue in the past. For this report, the definition of a mental health issue is very broad. It includes excessive stress; anxiety; depression; burnout; addictions and substance abuse; and mania, bipolar, and schizophrenia disorders, among others. For more perspectives from workers and front-line managers on mental health in the workplace, please read the Building Mentally Healthy Workplaces report.

How many levels do organizations tend to have in their appraisal systems?

Six in ten organizations (59 per cent) use a five-level rating system for performance appraisals, one-quarter a four-level system, and 8 per cent a three-level system. For more on performance management systems and processes, including typical performance distributions, please read Performance Management: Turning Individual Stress to Organizational Strategy or Compensation Planning Outlook 2014.

What is the projected wage increase for unionized employees in 2014?

For unionized employees, projected wage increases for 2014 are 1.9 per cent. Broken down by sector, this figure represents a 1.5 per cent projected increase in public sector wages and a 2.2 per cent projected increase in private sector wages. These projected increases are similar to the result of negotiated increases in 2013: 2.1 per cent overall, including 1.9 per cent in the public sector and 2.2 per cent in the private sector.

The projected increases rise when other factors beyond negotiated wages, such as merit increases and in-range adjustments, are considered. When these other factors are included, the overall average increase for unionized employees in 2013 was 2.5 per cent, and is projected to be the same in 2014. The public sector reported the same increase for 2013 (2.5) as it anticipates for 2014. The private sector’s 2014 projected increase of 2.6 per cent is slightly higher that its actual increase of 2.5 per cent in 2013.

For more information on wage projections and other compensation research, please consult the Compensation Outlook 2014 report.

What percentage of the Canadian workforce is unionized?

Canadian union density rates—a key measure of union strength and relative bargaining power in the economy—have declined over the years. Today, just fewer than 30 per cent of the Canadian workforce are members of a union. In recent years that share has stabilized, but this is because of solid growth in the public sector, where just over 70 per cent of workers are union members. In comparison, only about 16 per cent of the private sector is unionized.

For detailed information on the state of Canadian unions, please consult the Industrial Relations Outlook 2012 report.

How many Canadian organizations provide employees with a health care spending account?

More than half of all organizations (56 per cent) have a health care spending account for some employees within the organization, either on its own, or in conjunction with an existing benefit plan. Health care spending accounts are more common in public sector organizations (65 per cent) than among private sector employers (53 per cent).

Benefits Benchmarking 2012 closely examines many important aspects related to benefits such as benefit strategy, benefits costs, health care spending accounts, and group benefits plans. For more details download Benefits Benchmarking 2012.

Is it only matter of time for the representation of women in leadership positions within organizations to reach parity to the proportion of men in leadership positions?

Between 1987 and 2009, the proportion of women in middle management—a category that includes directors and managers—rose only by about 4 per cent. At that rate, it will take approximately 151 years before the proportion of men and women at the management level are equal. For more information on reasons and solutions surrounding the lack of female leaders within Canadian organizations, please see Women in Senior Management: Where Are They?

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