Many things made 2022 a challenging year for the Canadian job market. Inflation, shifting workplace models (onsite, hybrid, remote), and a general feeling of uncertainty made some workers not feel confident in their jobs.

We've seen the consequences of these effects with trends like the Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting, and now, Career Cushioning. But what is Career Cushioning, and how is it different from Quiet Quitting? Here are three keys to understand this new trend:

1. What Is Career Cushioning?

This new workplace lexicon is used to describe when an employee has a "Plan B" in case they get fired in layoffs or want to change careers or jobs. According to S Shanti, some Career Cushioning actions people are taking are upskilling, searching for employment in financially stable organizations or even starting a side hustle.

2. What Is Causing Career Cushioning?

Throughout 2022, we’ve seen how some tendencies went from simple expectations from employees to strong demands in order to stay or accept a job. With a tight labour market, employers are struggling to find the right talent, and when they do find it, they have to compete with other companies with appealing benefits.

Flexibility, pay transparency, inclusivity, a thriving work environment are some of the elements that Gen Z and millennial workers are after. While these generations only take for a part of the Canadian workforce, it is visible that these trends will become even more popular in future years.

3. What Can Employers Do to Avoid Career Cushioning Among Their Employees?

This year, employers will need to focus on employee engagement and competitive benefits programs if they want to retain their talent. Employee motivation and career growth opportunities will be key in 2023 for employee retention. Adding a well-thought benefits plan to the mix will also increase employee retention.

If you want to know more about employee engagement strategies, click here. To better understand how to create a Benefits Philosophy for your organization, you can read Josh Ruiters' (Benefits Specialist at Gallagher) column here.

Have you seen any cases of "Career Cushioning" in your workplace?

Poll ended on 31 December 2023
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