Canadian Human Resources Metrics Benchmarking

Critical Human Resources Metrics


Over 200 organizations across Canada gave us the following key highlights.


Voluntary Turnover Rate

This average includes resignations, early retirements, unpaid leaves of absence, and employee deaths (fiscal year 2022).


Absence Rate

Average number of days per year that an employee was absent from work (paid or unpaid) in fiscal year 2021.


Flex Time

Percentage of organizations that offered flex time (flexible start and finish times) in fiscal year 2021. 


Training and Development

Average amount spent ($1,014) on training and development per employee in fiscal year 2021.


Retirement Eligibility

Average percentage of an organization’s workforce eligible to retire in 2022.

Data from the 2021 Canadian HR Metrics Survey and 2022 Canadian HR Metrics Pulse Check Survey. 

Recent and Upcoming Research

Watch for our updates on related HR topics. These releases will break down information by region and industry.

The Strategic Importance of Succession Planning

A new quarterly survey, which was open from July 17 to August 18, 2023, was sent to HR professionals in Canadian organizations operating in a variety of regions, sectors, and industries. A total of 182 organizations participated in the survey. This briefing summarizes organizational data for unionized and non-unionized employees for the second quarter of 2023 (April to June) on four recurring topics of interest.

December 7, 2023  •  Issue briefing  •  30-min read

Interested in bundling Succession—December 2023? Contact our sales team.

Is the rate of turnover for non-unionized employees higher or lower than for unionized employees? Which industries should be most concerned about mass retirements in the next five years? How often are employees absent from work, on average? Which flexible work practices do most employers offer?

August 8, 2023  •  Issue briefing  •  34-min read

Interested in bundling Engagement—August 2023? Contact our sales team.

Preparing for an Impending Employee Exodus

An employee exodus in the coming months and years will affect many industries because of retirement risk or postponement and voluntary turnover. Organizations need robust, responsive succession plans to mitigate these risks and ensure long-term stability.

March 14, 2023  •  Issue briefing  •  45-min read

Interested in bundling Turnover, Succession, Retirement—March 2023? Contact our sales team.

Why Measuring Employee Engagement Matters

Labour markets have tightened markedly, with shortages continuing across a broad spectrum of industries, occupations, and skills categories. With increased labour market mobility and intense competition for talent, organizations are looking at how they can retain workers.

January 31, 2023  •  Issue briefing  •  9-min read

Interested in bundling Engagement—January 2023? Contact our sales team.

Organizations Beginning to Rethink Their Total Rewards

Compensation and total rewards are key to attracting and retaining high-quality talent. However, most organizations (89.9 per cent) that participated in this survey pay at the 50th percentile for base salary.

October 3, 2022  •  Online experience  •  8-min read

Interested in bundling Total Rewards—October 2022? Contact our sales team.

Absence Rates are Decreasing but Not Reflective of Employee Health

In 2021, the average employee absence rate (7.3 days) was lower than that in 2020 (9.9 days). This decrease may be a result of widespread vaccination efforts, reduced isolation requirements, and many workers’ ability to work from home even when unwell. Unlimited sick days were offered by 19 per cent of non-unionized organizations—an increase of 5 per cent over last year—and by 11 per cent of unionized organizations—consistent with the previous year—in fiscal 2021. Providing more paid time off may increase retention.

October 3, 2022  •  Online experience  •  8-min read

Interested in bundling Absenteeism—October 2022? Contact our sales team.

Organizational Design and Practices

As companies adapt to changing business and employee demands, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to workplace practices across Canadian organizations. In fiscal 2021, organizations had a variety of standard workweeks, and 30 per cent had different standard workweeks for different levels or types of employees (e.g., front-line workers working shift work, office employees working eight-hour days).

September 1, 2022  •  Online experience  •  8-min read

Interested in bundling Organizational Design—September 2022? Contact our sales team.

Investing in Employee Training and Development

Training and development rank as one of the most important employee considerations when choosing to accept a new position or stay with an organization. For instance, one study found that 94 per cent of employees would stay with a company longer if their company invested in their career development. Another study found that 37 per cent of employees would consider leaving their organization if training and development were not offered, while 79 per cent indicated that training opportunities are important when job searching.

August 18, 2022  •  Issue briefing  •  9-min read

Interested in bundling August 2022—Learning & Development? Contact our sales team.

Workplace Safety Should Remain a Priority

Workplace safety incidents have increased since 2020. This rise may be due in part to more employees returning to in-person work, meaning greater chances of workplace exposure incidents that result in lost-time claims.

July 27, 2022  •  Online experience  •  8-min read

Interested in bundling July—Health and Safety? Contact our sales team.

Recruitment and Selection

Labour markets are extremely tight due to an increasing number of retirements, low levels of immigration, labour shortages, and historically low unemployment. This is creating intense competition for talent. Despite a decrease in overall turnover rates in the 2021 fiscal year, survey results show that certain industries are experiencing alarming rates of voluntary turnover, with drastic variation based on region, industry, and sector.

July 8, 2022  •  Issue briefing  •  9-min read

Interested in bundling July 2022—Recruitment? Contact our sales team.

Tight Labour Markets Decreased Turnover in 2021

In 2021, average voluntary turnover decreased from previous years. However, voluntary turnover rates varied greatly by industry, sector, and region, ranging from 3 to 22 per cent. Select industries—particularly retail and scientific, professional, or technical industries—are experiencing the Great Attrition. In these industries, more than one in six employees changed roles.

June 7, 2022  •  Online experience  •  8-min read

Interested in bundling June 2021—Turnover? Contact our sales team.

COVID-19 and lockdowns in 2020 provided volatile conditions for employees and employers. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a sharp contraction in economic activity in Canada. Roughly 3 million Canadians lost their employment in March and April 2020, and millions more worked reduced hours. The unemployment rate peaked at in May 2020 but recovered over the second half of that year as the economy tentatively reopened.

January 14, 2022  •  Data briefing  •  12-min read

The last two years have changed the way we work and has made us reconsider ways of working, both from an employer and an employee point-of-view. While we know things have changed, data on how this is impacting workplaces is still quite sparse. This episode we hear how the Conference Board of Canada’s Human Capital team is working to fill in the gaps in HR trends and metrics.

We explore: what’s really happening with Canada’s “great resignation”; how to approach employee engagement; why some companies are adjusting their engagement strategies to deal with current and future challenges; and how where you work (remote, onsite or hybrid) is impacting these key metrics. These trends provide critical insights into the workforce and workplace of the future.

May 18, 2022  •  Podcast  •  13-min listen

Mental and Physical Safety by the Numbers

Nearly one quarter of organizations do not have a short-term disability program in place for their employees. Culture plays a key role in the mental and physical well-being of employees. By promoting safety and demonstrating leadership, organizations are working minimize health and safety risks and encourage wellness.

April 6, 2022  •  Online experience  •  8-min read

Interested in bundling Health and Safety Data Table 2022? Contact our sales team.

Organization Size Impacted by Absenteeism Rates in 2020

Larger organizations (5,000+ employees) had significantly higher absenteeism than smaller organizations. This may be a sign that employees in smaller organizations were striving to cover disruptions and may be languishing (the opposite of flourishing) or engaging in presenteeism.

March 1, 2022  •  Online experience  •  8-min read

Interested in bundling Absence Data Table 2022? Contact our sales team.

Many Organizations Not Measuring What They Say Matter

Despite identifying diversity, equity, and inclusion as top priorities many organizations are still not tracking these metrics. Only 44 per cent of organizations surveyed tracked representation across equity-deserving groups, and only 30 per cent conducted pay equity analyses. Some organizations are expanding how they view and track diversity and considering ways to measure inclusion.

February 28, 2022  •  Online experience  •  2-min read

Interested in bundling Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Data Table 2022? Contact our sales team.

From Engagement to Impact

Most organizations measure employee engagement—and for good reason. An engaged workforce is a win-win for employees and employers. Engaged employees feel that they have a sense of purpose, enjoy their job and colleagues, and would recommend their organization to others. Engagement translates to increased sales, better customer satisfaction, greater productivity, and greater employee retention—leading to better financials overall.

January 27, 2022  •  Issue briefing  •  10-min read

Interested in bundling Engagement Data Table 2022? Contact our sales team.

Voluntary Turnover Surprisingly High in 2020

In fiscal 2020, voluntary turnover was higher than expected, likely due to the unique stressors of COVID-19, early retirements, and talent shortages. The highest rates of voluntary turnover were seen at the management and professional job levels and in industries that provided scientific, professional, or technical services.

December 3, 2021  •  Online experience  •  3-min read

Interested in bundling Turnover Data Table 2022? Contact our sales team.

Labour Relations Outlook

Our annual Labour Relations Outlook provides organizations with an expert analysis of the labour market. Informing labour leaders, management, and policy-makers about the negotiating environment and the issues that will shape it.

Online experience  •  8-min read

Compensation Planning Outlook

This yearly report is based on survey responses from organizations operating in Canada, discussing how employers are adapting to the labour market. Providing a reliable forecast for Compensation and HR professionals across the country. To ensure that they are able to secure the talent they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Online experience  •  8-min read

Employee Wellness Survey

COVID-19 has shed new light on the importance of mental health and wellness. Organizations, and the programs they provide, play a pivotal role in supporting employees’ wellness through these tough times. The Conference Board of Canada asked organizations across the country how they’re managing employee wellness through benefits.

Online experience  •  8-min read


Liz Marcil

Associate Director, Human Capital

Image Unavailabe

Senior Research Associate

Research Associate

Become a Subscriber

Critical intelligence in the war for talent. Our Human Resources package prepares you and your organization for the workforce of today and tomorrow.