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Most Canadians over recession anxiety, says Labour Day poll

By Workplace Staff

Nearly half of all Canadians are feeling more secure in their jobs despite the deepest global recession in decades, according to a Labour Day poll by

The survey, performed by Harris/Decima, of just over 1000 Canadians found that 46 per cent  of Canadian workers feel they have more job security today than they did a year ago; 38 per cent  feel less secure. The survey also found that the vast majority of Canadians, 88 per cent, are satisfied with their current job situation.

“Although we’ve seen daily reports of layoffs and plant closures, Canadians are feeling pretty good about how they make a living,” says Peter Gilfillan, senior vice president of international sales and general manager of Monster Canada, a leading global online careers and recruitment resource. “Anxiety levels seem to be going down, and that’s really encouraging.”

Job security levels vary depending on location, with Canadians living in Manitoba and Saskatchewan enjoying the highest feelings of job security compared to the rest of the country.

When asked what they consider the top job perk, 33 per cent  of Canadians polled put job security ahead of work/life balance (31 per cent ), a secure pension (15 per cent ), and a generous salary (12 per cent ).

Public sector workers enjoy more job security and perks

In this challenging time for labour markets, with some high-profile public sector strikes around the country this year, the survey also explored Canadians’ views of public and private sector work and found that 53 per cent  of those questioned believe there are more advantages to working in the public sector than the private sector. When asked about job security, 53 per cent  of public sector workers questioned feel more secure in their jobs than they did one year ago, compared with 42 per cent  of private sector workers.

The majority of Canadians surveyed feel that government work is rewarding and makes a real difference. Despite respect for the work, most also believe government workers make too much money compared to the private sector.

Are public sector workers overpaid compared to the private sector? 39 per cent  of public sector workers, and 64 per cent  of private sector workers agree. Do public sector workers do a lot of paper pushing? Yes, say 72 per cent  of public sector workers, and 83 per cent  of private sector works agree.

“Most Canadians agree government work is rewarding,” adds Gilfillan. “I think that says a lot about the value of public sector careers. As for the level of compensation, Canadians aren’t likely to agree on that anytime soon.”

Tackling a national labour shortage

As Canada faces the challenges of a national labour shortage, compounded by retiring baby boomers, Canadians surveyed offered strong support for the following solutions:

  • 94 per cent  believe governments should do more to help people with disabilities access the job market
  • 71 per cent  believe there should be a greater effort put into attracting foreign trained professionals
  • 60 per cent  favour eliminating the mandatory retirement age
  • 55 per cent  support teens aged 14 to 16 should have greater access to the job market

By contrast, Canadians had little support for these ideas:

  • Only 12 per cent support going to a six day work week like some in China
  • Only 30 per cent support capping annual vacations at three weeks

The Harris/Decima Survey, conducted from August 13-16, 2009, surveyed 1,009 Canadians, of which 548 are employed. Results for the full sample are considered accurate +/- 3.1 per cent , 19 times out of 20. To view all of the survey results or the Monster Employment Index, go to

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