When first opening up a business in the United States we were very aware that we would experience a little bit of culture shock. And we did; crossing boards, making moves and learning about all the changes to be made. It was not just a few. While Canada and America do share a fair number of similarities they also are vastly different in a lot of ways as well. The business environment in North America is diverse and dynamic but with both the US and Canada offering such unique opportunities and challenges for businesses operating across the regions, what is the difference in their recruiting and retention? 


One of the primary goals of any staffing strategy is to ensure that a business has the right people in the right roles to achieve its objectives. One key difference between the two countries is the prevalence of labor unions. In the United States, labor unions are relatively common, especially in certain industries such as manufacturing and transportation, just like ours! Unions can play a significant role in staffing decisions, as they may negotiate collective bargaining agreements that establish pay rates, benefits, and working conditions for their members. In Canada, labor unions are also present, but they tend to have less influence than in the United States.

Another important factor to consider when staffing a business is the availability of skilled labor. In the United States, there is a strong emphasis on higher education and specialized training, with many businesses looking to hire candidates with advanced degrees or certifications in their fields. In Canada, there is also a movement towards focusing on education and training, but the emphasis tends to be more on practical skills and hands-on experience. This can impact the types of candidates that businesses are able to attract and hire in each country.


Recruiting is the process of attracting and selecting the best candidates for a job opening. In both the United States and Canada, businesses use a range of strategies to recruit new employees, but there are some notable differences in the approaches taken.

One key difference is the use of job boards and online recruitment platforms. In the United States, these tools are widely used and can be a highly effective way to reach a large pool of potential candidates. In Canada, while they are still used, traditional recruitment methods such as networking and referrals are still very important, and businesses may rely less on job boards and online platforms.

Another factor to consider is the importance of diversity and inclusion in the recruiting process. In both the United States and Canada, there is a growing emphasis on creating more diverse and inclusive workplaces, and many businesses are taking steps to attract candidates from a wide range of backgrounds. However, the specific strategies used to achieve this goal may differ in each country, depending on cultural and societal factors.


Retention refers to the strategies used to keep employees engaged and motivated so that they are more likely to stay with a business for the long term. In both the United States and Canada, businesses use a range of retention strategies, but there are some notable differences in the approaches taken.

One key difference is the role of employee benefits. In the United States, benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans are often provided by employers, and can be a major factor in employee retention. In Canada, however, many of these benefits are provided by the government, which can lead to a different approach to retention strategies as this is not effective.

Another important factor is the culture of work-life balance. In the United States, there is often a strong emphasis on working long hours and achieving success at all costs. Workaholics 101. In Canada, there is a greater emphasis on work-life balance, with many businesses offering flexible schedules and other perks to help employees achieve a healthy balance between work and personal life.


While there are some similarities in the way that businesses approach staffing, recruiting, and retention in the United States and Canada, there are also some notable differences. These differences can be influenced by a range of factors. While neither Canada or the United States “does it best” they both have individual practices that are beneficial to organizations as a whole. What you and your organization choose to participate in however does have an effect on your staff’s recruiting and retention.