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Canadian Defined Contribution Pulse Survey - 2022

November 28, 2022

Canadian DC plan sponsors are eyeing enhancements to their retirement plans to boost employee retirement security, financial wellbeing, member experience and attraction and retention.
Investments|Retirement|Ukupne nagrade |Employee Financial Resilience

Survey Highlights

WTW’s 2022 survey of Defined Contribution (DC) plan sponsors shows that many Canadian employers are eyeing enhancements to their DC retirement plans to boost their employees’ retirement security and financial wellbeing. They are also planning to sharpen their focus around member experience, and to better leverage their plans for employee attraction and retention.


Evolution of DC plans continues as two out of three sponsors (67%) expect to change their DC plan in next two years after already having made a change in last two years. An additional 19% of sponsors that didn’t make a change over the last two years plan on making at least one change over the next two years. Most of the expected enhancements will focus on the employee experience (76%) and financial wellbeing (69%). Additionally, just over half (53%) expect to make changes to their plan design.

86% of defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors expect to make at least one change to their plan over the next 2 years.

3 in 4 expect changes to enhance their employees' experience

Design Features

Most expected changes in DC plan design over next two years involve adding or enhancing features, with about one-third focusing on employer contribution features and 28% interested in other design features.

53% of sponsors intend to change DC plan design over the next 2 years

Enhancements to boost savings

33% of sponsors are considering changes to their employer contribution features

Actions to support employee's retirement security

Actions to support employee's retirement security
Plan sponsors have taken, or are planning or considering, the following actions to support employee’s retirement security: Action taken Planning or considering
Integrating the defined contribution plan strategy with financial wellbeing and resilience 34% 35%
Using targeted communication tailored to specific segments 35% 32%
Using listening strategies to identify employee needs and support program changes 31% 36%
Analyzing workforce outcomes to assess needs for at-risk employees 7% 27%

Attraction, Retention and Differentiation

More than half of plan sponsors expect attraction and retention issues over next two years, with just over one-quarter of those sponsors viewing their DC plan as an important tool to distinguish them from their competitors.

56% of sponsors expect to face attraction and retention issues over the next 2 years

Overall, almost half of respondents regard attraction and retention considerations an important part of their DC plan strategy.

To what extent will the following be a priority to your defined contribution plan strategy over the next two years?

  • 47% Leverage plan to enhance employee retention
  • 43% Leverage plan to attract new talent
  • 31% Align plan with diversity, equity and inclusion goals
  • 28% Align plan with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals

Actions plan sponsors can take now

By integrating retirement plans into broader employee experience, plan sponsors have opportunities to meet employees across their life cycle, and better support them in managing their increasingly complex needs. Actions that employers can take include:

Leveraging available analytics to evaluate how different employee cohorts are engaging with and benefiting from the plan

Integrating DC plan strategy with financial wellbeing and resilience, enhancing connection to financial wellbeing programs

Improving plan design by adding/enhancing employer matching contribution formulas, auto-enrollement and auto-escalation features

Providing digital tools to help employees with budgeting and spending

Targeting communications to specific workforce segments

In today’s challenging labour environment, retirement benefits remain a high priority for Canadian workers and their employers. By increasing alignment between sponsors’ plans and employee needs, DC plan sponsors can strengthen both their plan’s value and participant outcomes.

Title File Type File Size
Canadian Defined Contribution Pulse Survey - 2022 PDF 3.2 MB
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