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Pop star or public servant? RBC poll uncovers desires of the Canadian workforce


If given the chance to switch jobs, Canadians prefer the lure of stardom or the security of a good pension and would work in either the entertainment or government sectors, according to a new workplace survey from RBC. Sitting at the bottom of the “most desirable” list are employment opportunities in the accounting, financial services and trade sectors.

Conducted by Ipsos Reid and titled The Competition for Canadian Talent, the RBC Survey found that at 34 per cent, a government job was the most appealing sector, with entertainment following closely, at 27 per cent. In comparison, financial services came in at 11 per cent and accounting at nine per cent.

“It was surprising to see financial services and accounting near the bottom of the list, given that we receive hundreds of thousands of resumes each year and hire several thousand people in Canada annually,” said Christianne Paris, vice-president, Recruitment and Learning, RBC. “We strive to provide an interesting and inclusive work environment that draws on the strengths, talents and differences of our diverse workforce and even though for the past several years, we have been rated as one of the best companies to work for in Canada, the survey seems to indicate that there is still work to be done to get the word out.”

The RBC Survey also found that while 52 per cent of working Canadians say they have a strong sense of loyalty to their employers, only one-quarter (28 per cent) would stay with their current employer if offered a comparable job with higher pay elsewhere. According to those surveyed, higher pay is the top benefit (69 per cent) that an employer can offer to a potential or current employee, followed by better health/benefit coverage (35 per cent) and cash bonus or profit sharing incentives (34 per cent). Clearly, money is the key driver for most people however opportunity for advancement (23 per cent) and opportunity for increased work/life balance (20 per cent) are also important draws.

“It is not enough to just offer someone a job. Employers need to look at and annually review their total employment package which should include salary, benefits, learning and development options as well as an engaging work environment,” said Paris. “In order to recruit or keep top talent, employers need to meet the needs of both prospective and current employees.”

According to the survey, employed Canadians have worked for 5.3 different employers since starting their careers. While on average most Canadians say they have worked for their current employer for 8.4 years, which is relatively unchanged from 10 years ago (8.3 years) when RBC conducted a similar survey, almost half (47 per cent) plan to stay five years or less and one-quarter (24 per cent) intend to stay 20 years or more. However, of those surveyed, a little over one-quarter (28 per cent) felt that they would rather stay with one employer for most of their career than have several different employers and more than one-third (36 per cent) preferred to move within their company rather than look outside.

Given that nearly half of Canadians expect to change jobs five times in their career, almost one-third keep their resume up-to-date just in case opportunity knocks. Of those surveyed, more than 30 per cent have applied for a new job in the past year and two-thirds (66 per cent) believe they have what it takes to succeed in the workplace in the next decade.

“Employers must recognize that people need to feel challenged and successful in their jobs otherwise they will seek it elsewhere, either by watching for new and exciting opportunities within their own company or outside of it, or breaking away completely and choosing a different career path altogether,” said Paris.

These are some of the findings of an RBC poll conducted by Ipsos Reid between November 5 and November 15, 2007. The online survey is based on randomly selected representative sample of 2,052 Canadian full and part-time workers. With a representative sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ±2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian population been polled. These data were statistically weighted to ensure the sample’s regional and age composition reflects that of the actual employed Canadian population according to the 2006 Census data.


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