Person at their desk taking notes with their laptop open next to them.

Working Through COVID-19

Workforce Impacts

From family obligations to remote work we’ve surveyed COVID-19’s effects on Canadian employers and workers but how is the pandemic changing the ebbs flows and makeup of the workforce.

The conference board of Canada asked organizations across the country about how covid19 is affecting their turnover attraction and retention rates and the strategies they’ve put in place to manage

Here’s what we found.

Note: Survey responses were collected from July 20–28, 2020. These findings are part of a Conference Board series on work and pay during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay tuned for updates as this situation evolves.

In this study, we define voluntary turnover as turnover due to an employee-initiated departure. We define involuntary turnover as turnover due to an employer-initiated departure (e.g., severances, dismissals, redundancies). Involuntary turnover does not include temporary layoffs.

Portrait shot of a person in the streets staring into the distance wearing a mask

Employees are choosing to stay put

Q: Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the following rates have:

(n = 124; percentage of organizations)

Percentage of organizations, pie charts

Notes: Totals may not add to 100 due to rounding.  
Source: The Conference Board of Canada.

Seeking stability and a return to how it was

Over one-third of organizations (35 per cent) reported not implementing any of the strategies or approaches we asked about. (See chart below.)

For those that did put some of the strategies in place, hiring freezes were the most common. This aligns with what we are hearing from employers. Many have indicated that a top concern right now is returning to prior business levels and financial stability.

Business person on the phone looking off to the side with a very serious expression

Hiring has slowed

Q: Which of the following strategies or approaches has your organization taken as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? 

(n = 132; percentage of organizations)

Bar chart listing strategies or approaches used by organizations taken as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

Notes: Total is greater than 100 as respondents could select more than one option.
Source: The Conference Board of Canada.

What about having the right talent in place?

More than half of responding organizations are not having difficulty attracting, recruiting, or retaining talent. This is not surprising, given the amount of hiring freezes and workforce reductions in place across the country.

Person working from home on their laptop on a video call with a coworker

Few are struggling to retain talent

Q: Is your organization having difficulty attracting/recruiting or retaining talent with particular skills?

(n = 135; percentage of organizations)

Pie chart showing organizations having difficulty attracting/recruiting or retaining talent with particular skills

Notes: Totals may not add to 100 due to rounding.
Source: The Conference Board of Canada.

Get an inside look at our respondent profile.

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