Canadians spurn the grindstone to spend more time with family

2006

Canadian workers are increasingly making work-life balance their priority within the workplace, new research has suggested.

Unlike their perhaps more driven cousins across the border, for Canadians making time for personal lives has moved up the list of priorities in the past five years, said recruitment firm Workopolis.

While the top priority five years ago was career, followed by family (37 per cent and 31 per cent respectively), today the situation is reversed with family ranking first and career second (44 per cent and 31 per cent respectively).

At the same time, Canadians are placing greater emphasis on the quality of their working lives, ensuring that they continue to develop professionally, it added.

"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, Workopolis president.

"Smart employers will recognise this shift and create a workplace that allows people to nurture both their personal and professional lives," he added.

Five years ago, too, just 14 per cent of job seekers said they would leave a job for work-life balance reasons.

Today that number has jumped to more than a third (39 per cent).

Split by gender, 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, said Workopolis.

Career came second, with 31 per cent of both genders choosing it.

"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," he argued.

Finding the right job in Canada is becoming tougher too, the survey found. Looking back over the past five years, 51 per cent of job seekers said it was harder today to find a job; with just 18 per cent saying it was easier.

"Despite a booming economy and low unemployment rate, many job seekers are still finding it tough out there," said Sullivan.

"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," he added.

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