Workopolis: News Releases

Jobs in the new millennium: Canadians strike a balance between work and home life New survey from Workopolis shows Canadians place increasing priority on family

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Toronto, Ontario (March 15, 2006) – Half way through the first decade of the new millennium, Canadian job seekers have made their priorities clear – making time for our personal lives has become increasingly important. Workopolis, Canada's leading provider of recruitment and job search solutions, surveyed Canadian job seekers and employers about their opinions on the job market today as compared to five years ago. According to the survey, while Canadians' top priority five years ago was career, followed by family (37% and 31% respectively), today those priorities have reversed with family ranking first and career second (44% and 31% respectively). At the same time, Canadians are also placing greater emphasis on the quality of their working lives, ensuring that they continue to develop professionally.

"There's been a significant shift in what matters to Canadian job seekers – family has replaced career development as our number one life priority," said Patrick Sullivan, President of Workopolis. "Smart employers will recognize this shift and create a workplace that allows people to nurture both their personal and professional lives."

The Workopolis survey also asked employers to evaluate today's job market and the contrast is even more striking. Employers report that five years ago, just 14 per cent of job seekers would leave a job for work-life balance reasons. Today that number has jumped to more than one-third (39%).

The millennium in review

A shift in life priorities – from career to family:

  • When asked what their number one life priority was five years ago, the top choice was career at 37 per cent, followed by family at 31 per cent. Today, those priorities have flipped, with 44 per cent of Canadians reporting that family is their number one life priority while just 31 per cent still said their career.
  • Interestingly, the outlooks of men and women have become more similar in recent years. Five years ago, men placed a higher priority on career, with 40 per cent choosing it as their top priority, compared to 34 per cent of women. Today, both men and women put family ahead equally, at 44 per cent. Career comes second, with 31 per cent of both genders choosing it.
  • Albertans are the most family oriented of all Canadians, with 49 per cent saying family is their number one priority, while just 23 per cent said career is.

A shift in work priorities, from career advancement to work-life balance:

  • When asked what their number one work priority was five years ago, Canadians said career advancement (29%), far ahead of work-life balance (17%).
  • Men were even more likely than women to select career advancement (32% compared to 26%). But today, both genders say work-life balance is their number one priority at work – 26 per cent of women and 24 per cent of men. Both agree that career is their second priority –19 per cent and 22 per cent respectively.
  • Interestingly, Quebeckers are ahead of the curve when it comes to work priorities. Five years ago, one-quarter of Quebeckers (26%) said their number one priority was work-life balance. By way of comparison, just half as many British Columbians (13%) and Albertans (14%) said work-life balance was their top priority.
  • Today Quebeckers continue to prioritize work-life balance as one-third (34%) say work-life balance is their top concern. British Columbians and Albertans have increased their emphasis on work-life balance as well, climbing to 26 per cent and 30 per cent.

The employers view – from salary to balance:

  • When asked why employees leave their jobs, employers report the top reason five years ago was for a higher salary (38%). The top reason today is work-life balance (39%).
  • But the Workopolis survey of employers also showed that employees are capable of balancing personal and professional demands without letting work suffer. While 82 per cent of employers said their staff members are more dedicated to their personal/home lives today, almost three-quarters (71 per cent) also said workers are more likely to put a greater emphasis on professional development (e.g. education, increasing their skill set) than they were five years ago.
  • And 62 per cent of employers said employees are more career driven (e.g. looking for promotions and salary increases) than they were five years ago.

"In a market where employees place a higher priority on their personal lives, employers need to understand that it hasn't come at the expense of the quality of their work," added Sullivan. "More than ever, staff are looking for professional development and career advancement on the job, though perhaps within a compressed time schedule that allows them to get home to their families."

Finding a job match in the new millennium – it's harder today than it was five years ago; and for employers, it's going to get worse:

  • Looking back over the last five years, 51 per cent of job seekers say it's harder today to find a job; just 18 per cent say it's easier.

"Despite a booming economy and low unemployment rate, many job seekers are still finding it tough out there," added Sullivan. "Workopolis believes that this is because standards are higher and job seekers aren't looking for just any job. They want the right job, the job that fits, the job they're going to love."

  • When it comes to finding the right candidates, 57 per cent of employers say they are already seeing a shortage of qualified candidates in their industry; and more than three quarters (77%) expect to see a shortage in the next five years.

"In a competitive market, employers are still experiencing challenges as they search for the right candidate for each and every job they fill," continued Sullivan. "Employers can help make the hiring process more efficient by clearly listing the specific qualifications and skills they are looking for in their job postings. That's the key to finding the right employees."

Who's got the power? It depends who you ask:

  • According to employers, when asked if they think the balance of power has shifted, they say job seekers are in the driver's seat, with 60 per cent believing candidates are in a stronger position than they were five years ago. Only 17 per cent feel employers are in a stronger position.
  • But when you ask job seekers, nationally, almost half (48%) say employers are in a stronger position today than they were five years ago, and just 21 per cent say candidates are in a stronger position.
  • However, regionally, the numbers change. In Alberta, half of job seekers (50%) report they are in a stronger position than they were five years ago. While just 23 per cent say employers are in a stronger position than they were five years ago. In B.C., the numbers were equal with 34 per cent saying employers are in a stronger position and 34 per cent saying job seekers are in a stronger position.

Job security in the new millennium – more confident looking ahead:

  • While job seekers say they are less secure now than they were five years ago (54% report being less secure, while 16% report being more secure), their outlook brightens when they look ahead to the next five years. Only one-third (33%) expect to feel less secure in the future (down from 54%) and 34 per cent expect to feel more secure (up from 16%).
  • Quebeckers feel less secure than the rest of Canadians. More than half (56%) say they have less job security compared to five years ago, while just 11 per cent say they have more. Looking ahead, 41 per cent say they expect less job security, while 25 per cent feel they'll have more security in the future.
  • By contrast, Westerners are feeling more secure. Less than half (42%) of British Columbians say they have less security than five years ago, while 19 per cent say they have more. For Albertans, only 38 per cent say they have less security than five years ago, while one-quarter (25%) say more.
  • And the future looks bright for those in Western Canada, where 38 per cent of British Columbians think they'll have more job security over the next five years, and just 25 per cent say less. Numbers are quite similar in Alberta – 35 per cent expect more job security looking ahead, while 25 per cent expect to have less.

Tips for employers:

  • Work-life balance has become a greater priority to many employees today. From flexible work hours, to working from home, be aware of employees' needs and do your best to accommodate them.
  • At the same time, employees are still looking for professional development and career advancement. Be sure to build staff education and training into your annual planning and budgeting.
  • In a job market with a growing shortage of suitable candidates, make the most of all the online tools available, including screening tools, as well as resume databases that allow for specific searches for matching skills, education or other qualifications.

Tips for job seekers:

  • If maintaining work-life balance is a priority to you, know your limitations and what's expected of you. Be upfront with employers about your time constraints, but recognize that you have to fulfill all of your commitments at work.
  • In a competitive market, be patient and particular. Know what you want, take the time to find an opportunity that is suitable for your needs and will provide you with the challenges and experiences you need to build your career.
  • Be realistic and recognize when you may have to consider a different sector or position. The job market is forever changing and it's up to you to understand the ups and downs of today's industries.

About Workopolis:

Workopolis is Canada's leading provider of Internet recruiting and job search solutions offering a fully bilingual suite of award-winning applications, products and services to both large and small Canadian companies:

  •™, Canada's biggest job site—with the most jobs, visitors and employers of any Canadian job site
  •, Canada's biggest job site for students and recent graduates
  • CorporateWorks™, Canada's most implemented recruitment management solution using the tools that power to power corporate career sites

Workopolis is a unique and complementary partnership of three Canadian media companies, The Globe and Mail division of Bell Globemedia, Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. and Gesca Ltd., the newspaper publishing subsidiary of Power Corporation of Canada. Workopolis has offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Guelph, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

About the poll: More than 2,600 Canadians and over 210 human resource professionals responsible for recruitment and hiring at a cross section of Canadian companies responded to the surveys posted on the site between February 28 and March 2, 2006.

For further information:

For Workopolis
Jill Rosenberg/Tina Gladstone
Environics Communications