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Career Advancement: Do You Know How to Get Ahead? Most Canadians Don’t

 

Few Canadians are aware of the specific steps they need to take to advance in their organizations, although they nevertheless think they are given equal (or more) opportunities to advance when compared to others.


Canadian workers are not entirely clear on what they need to do to advance in their organizations. With the exception of two in ten who strongly agree (19%) that they know what they need to do, most Canadians either have only some idea (49% somewhat agree they know what to do) or little at all (19% disagree somewhat/6% disagree strongly).Quebec workers are disproportionately more likely to better understand what they need to do to advance in their organization (86% versus 68% of Canadians overall).
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. For methodological information, please see below.

 

Notably, those satisfied with their jobs are much more likely than those who are not to feel they know what they need to do to advance (75% versus 38%). Indeed, knowledge of how to advance produces a larger gap between canadians satisfied with their job and those who are not than remuneration or recognition received on the job.

Notwithstanding that slightly more non-visible than visible minority workers strongly agree they know what to do to advance (20% versus 10%), both groups of Canadians generally display a similar sense, or lack thereof, of what they need to do to advance in their organization. As well, men and women express a similar level of understanding.

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

Do Others Have Better Opportunities To Advance?

Canadians diverge more when asked if they feel others have better opportunities for advancement. Overall, Canadians are less likely to agree (35%) than disagree (60%) with the statement “I feel others have better opportunities for advancement” (4% are unable or unwilling to offer a response).

Demographically, a similar minority of Canadians across age, gender and household and education levels feel others have better opportunities. Regionally, consistent with their greater knowledge of how to advance in their organizations, Quebecers (21%) are least likely to feel others have better opportunities for advancement.

However, visible minority Canadians and those born outside Canada are more likely to agree others have better opportunities for advancement. Half of visible minority Canadians agree others have better opportunities for advancement (16% agree strongly, 37% agree somewhat), compared to one-third of non-visible minority Canadians. As well, those born outside Canada, albeit a minority, are three times as likely as those born in Canada to strongly agree others have better opportunities for advancement (23% versus 8%).

In short, visible minority Canadians and immigrants share a similar level of understanding as the Canadian population-at-large of what they need to do to advance, but they are much less convinced there’s a level playing field to do so.

Furthermore, when posed directly with the statement “I feel my ethnic or cultural background has hindered my career advancement,” visible minority Canadians are five times as likely as non-visible minority Canadians to agree (37% versus 7%). Among those who disagree, visible minority Canadians are far less certain than others (28% strongly disagree their ethnic or cultural background has hindered their advancement, compared to 69% of non-visible minority Canadians).


Methodology

Findings from the Environics Research Group survey were released in January 2011. A total of 1,202 Canadians aged 18 years or older provided their input to the on-line survey conducted between November 3 and 11, 2010. Age, gender, and regional quotas were placed to ensure that this sample reflects the Canadian population. Data gathered can therefore be extrapolated to the full population with a reasonable degree of confidence, and permitting analysis by important subgroups. Furthermore, this sample size was chosen as it can provide meaningful and statistically reliable results for important segments of the population, whether this is by region, community size, household type or relevant demographic characteristics such as education level and family size.
Read the full report, “On-line survey on public perceptions about career development and the workplace”, on the CERIC website.

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