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A Closer Look at Work-Life Balance

For many Canadians, a good work-life balance is integral to job satisfaction. But in the last year a substantial minority feels this balance has deteriorated, especially visible minority Canadians.

 

The Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC) has released findings of a survey conducted by Environics Research Group asking Canadians about their job satisfaction, their perceptions about their workplaces and performance management, and the tools and resources they turn to when looking for a job or building a career. This project is a follow-up to a benchmark initiative completed in 2007 that asked similar questions. This article is an excerpt from the 2011 survey report.

Although Canadians are most likely to feel having good work-life balance is very important to their job satisfaction, in their day-to-day lives a significant proportion struggle with their work-life balance. One in three (35%) Canadians agree their work-life balance has deteriorated in the last year, a view that is strongest among visible minority Canadians (49%) and those who have an activity-limiting disability (50%). The remainder of Canadians are largely ambivalent; only one in four (28%) strongly disagree their work-life balance has deteriorated in the past year.

Aggravating Canadians’ sense of deteriorating work-life balance is the wish for more control over their work schedules. Half of Canadians strongly (13%) or somewhat (38%) agree they wish they had more control, a view that is fairly common to Canadians regardless of occupation, household income or level of education. Those who are the most likely to feel their work-life balance has deteriorated over the last year also wish they had more control over their work schedules, suggesting that the key here is control – not hours worked. Notably, individuals who identify as a visible minority (63%) are most likely among Canadians to wish for more control over their work schedule.

Those experiencing deterioration in their work-life balance are more likely to turn to career counselling for help. More specifically, those Canadians who value career counselling programs and are very certain they would use a career counselling service are twice as likely as those who are not to report their work-life balance has deteriorated. In other words, Canadians are open to, and turning to, career counselling programs to help them manage their challenges with work-life balance.

Importance of flexible work options. Nearly eight in ten (77%) Canadians value flexible work options such as telecommuting, job sharing, flex-time or condensed work weeks. These options help Canadians manage nonwork- related commitments that they might otherwise be unable to honour.

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 Q.26 How important is it to you to have flexible work options, such as telecommuting, job-sharing, flex-time, condensed work week, etc.?

Women, Canadians under the age of 50, those with children and those who identify as a visible minority tend to find these options more valuable than others, possibly due to the stresses associated with taking care of larger families (with or without children).
Read the full report, “On-line survey on public perceptions about career development and the workplace”, on the CERIC website.

 

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