REPORT: How Many People Are Planning to Switch Jobs – and Why?

The Canadian labour market remains favourable for job seekers, and the result is twofold: for employers, the competition for talent has grown fierce and they have to work harder to retain and attract the workers they need to drive their business. For job seekers, opportunities abound, and it’s become increasingly common for workers to yearn for change at some point or another. 

In a recent study, we found that many people are planning to make major shifts and change careers altogether (jumping from, say, a role in marketing to one in finance). Others, however, are making more subtle changes and looking for new roles in the same field, but at different companies. Either way, job seekers are becoming more active in their search for the best job opportunity. In fact, according to a recent Indeed survey, the average Canadian has had five jobs and has worked at four companies. 

Indeed conducted a study to further understand job switching behaviour. What we found is that almost a third (32%) of respondents plan to change jobs within the next one or two years, and 25% have been actively recruited by another company in the last six months. Moreover, a mere 16% plan to stay with their current company for the next five years.  

So, what are the key factors that motivate people to change jobs and what can be done to reverse their plans to leave? Let’s take a look at the data. 

Why do workers in Canada want a new job?

The number one reason workers are looking for a new job is because they want more – or better – benefits. Of all respondents, 34% say they believe they would receive better core benefits at another company, while 33% say they believe other companies have better ancillary benefits. Additionally, 29% believe other companies could provide better childcare benefits. 

Over a quarter (28%) believe they could have more control over their schedule at another company (flexible hours, remote work options, etc.). Many workers regard the 9-5 paradigm as outdated and restrictive, and as a result, they’re opting for jobs that allow them to enjoy greater flexibility

What are workers’ career plans? 

Almost two-fifths of respondents (39%) planning to change jobs within the next two years say they’ll be looking for a higher-level role in the same profession. Many workers believe switching jobs is the best way to learn new skills and advance their career. Thus, if employers want to attract and retain talent, they must develop a workplace culture that values upskilling and career development. 

But not all workers are switching jobs for a higher-level role. Others plan to make a lateral move – over a third of respondents (34%) who plan to change jobs within the next two years say they’ll look for a similar role at another company. 

Just under a fifth of respondents (19%) who expect or plan to change jobs within the next two years say they’ll make a complete career change.

What would it take to make workers stay? 

Only 52% of respondents believe that their employer is working extra hard to retain talent given the tight labour market, with almost a third (32%) disagreeing. What can employers do to not only reduce turnover but entice job seekers to accept an offer at their company? 

In order to reconsider leaving, the majority of workers say they’d need better pay (63%), highlighting the importance for employers to keep up with job salaries in order to remain competitive and dissuade workers from going elsewhere. Secondly, respondents indicate that they would stay put if their employer offered better benefits (41%), including healthcare benefits. Over one-third of respondents say that a promotion would entice them to stay (36%).  

Interestingly, over one-fourth of respondents (28%) say flexibility when it comes to scheduling would motivate them to stay at their current company. This is a great option for employers who are unable to offer higher pay or benefits due to budget constraints. In fact, Indeed recently found that 36% of workers would consider taking a pay cut in order to have the option to work from home, citing such reasons as more work-life balance, reduced stress and improved morale. 

Last but not least, skills training is cited as a key factor for staying at a company. After all, providing employees with opportunities for learning will show that you’re willing to invest in them and help them on their path to advancement. 

Gone are the days when workers would remain at companies for decades. Workers are increasingly ready and willing to switch jobs as a way to earn more experience, and get better perks and benefits. Remaining competitive via compensation, benefits, training and flexibility are just a few ways to help increase employee tenure. 


The survey was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Indeed among 1,023 randomly selected full-time workers Canada, between October 28 and November 1, 2019. The margin of error is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.