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Perceptions of the Workplace

Canadians tend to enjoy the people with whom they work and the tasks required of them, but a strong minority (one in three) feel their work is meaningless, a perception that is much higher among 25- to 34- year olds and those with the lowest incomes.


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.

Canadians like their colleagues. The vast majority somewhat (49%) or strongly (39%) agree they like the people they work with, while only one in ten (11%) feel otherwise. Positive sentiments are strongest among Albertans (57% strongly agree they like who they with). As well, while similar proportions of men and women like their colleagues, women are more likely than men to strongly agree they like who they work with (43% versus 34% of men). Most notably, Canadians who are satisfied with their job are much more likely to like who they work with than those who are not (92% versus 67%).

Perceptions of the workplace

Q.5 d,e,g Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements… Subsample: Those who are employed full-time or part-time.


Canadians also like the things they do at work. When posed with the statement “I like the things I do at work,” a large majority strongly (34%) or somewhat (52%) agree. How many Canadians like the things they do at work steadily rises with age (from 70% of those aged 18 to 24 years to 92% of those aged 45 years or older), though not with level of education and household income. Perhaps surprisingly, Canadians’ feelings towards the things they do at work vary little by occupation. The one exception is executives, all of whom (100%) say they like the things they do, with three-quarters (73%) agreeing strongly. Not surprisingly, those who hope to move on to another job are much more ambivalent than those content with their jobs about how much they like the things they do at work.

One-third of Canadians (36%) sometimes feel their jobs are meaningless, although only one in ten (10%) feel this way strongly. Notably, those aged 25 to 34 years and Canadians with household incomes less than $30,000 (44% each) are more likely than others to sometimes feel their jobs are meaningless. As well, fewer visible minority than non-visible minority Canadians disagree strongly with the statement “I sometimes feel my job is meaningless” (19% versus 34% of non-visible minority Canadians).

Read the full report, “On-line survey on public perceptions about career development and the workplace”, on the CERIC website.



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