Canadian Manufacturing

Company culture, career progression increasingly important to Canadians: report

According to a recent survey by recruitment firm Hays Canada, 74 per cent of Canadians are willing to take a pay cut for their ideal job, as money is taking a backseat to career fulfillment concerns


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TORONTO—Attitudes towards what Canadians want from their work are shifting, with career growth and company culture growing in importance and financial compensation becoming less significant.

This is according to a recent survey by recruitment firm Hays Canada, which gathered opinions from more than 4,000 employees across Canada on workplace priorities like salary, benefits, culture and career growth.

Hays first surveyed Canadians about their career preferences in 2013. The findings released September 12 reveal that in the past four years, overall work satisfaction has declined by 19 per cent and that 89.8 per cent of Canadian employees would consider leaving their current job for something else, up from the 77.6 per cent reported in 2013.

Respondents were asked about what they considered to be most important in their current role and when weighing other opportunities, and most cited that career training and progression are crucially important, with three out of the four most sought after benefits identified by respondents being training and benefit related.

The survey finds that while financial compensation continues to dominate career decisions, there has been an 11 per cent drop in how salary is weighted, with Canadians placing increased importance on company culture, up 26 per cent since 2013.

When it comes to improving company culture, open communication, strong leadership and work-life balance top the wishlists of respondents. 41 per cent of respondents currently looking for new positions say company culture is the main reason.

“Canadians want a company culture that speaks to their core values. Their priorities are changing and employers that want to attract and retain the best and brightest also need to be willing to change. They cannot continue to offer the same incentives and compensation and expect to remain competitive in this tight talent market. Strong leadership, open communication, flexibility and career training are only going to grow in importance as Generation Y moves up the corporate ladder,” said Rowan O’Grady, president of Hays Canada.

Hays says that Generation Y, commonly known as Millennials, are now the biggest cohort in Canada’s workforce, and as this group reaches their mid-30s and become managers and senior managers, preferences for informal work environments and increased focus on career growth are becoming more pronounced.

According to the survey, Generation Y respondents were most likely to say they would take a pay cut of more than 10 per cent for their ideal job, and of all demographic groups, Generation Y rate career growth as the highest workplace priority. This group also says work-life balance is the most important aspect of a company’s culture.

Across the board, two-thirds of respondents said they would take a step down in seniority and three-quarters would take a pay cut for their ideal job. 31 per cent said they would take a new position without a pay increase.

By sector, HR professionals ranked salary lowest when considering a new job, while IT professionals covet diversity and inclusion, accounting and finance professionals weigh company culture higher than other factors, and construction professionals are more interested in bonuses—72 per cent would accept a pay cut if there was potential to earn a higher bonus.


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