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Survey finds Canadians love their jobs

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CANADIAN workers who think the workplace grass is greener in another country might be wrong.

A new survey by in conjunction with GfK, one of the world's largest research companies, found nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of Canadian workers love or like their job a lot and only seven per cent don't like their current role.

The survey questioned about 8,000 people in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, The Netherlands and India.

Canadian workers were by far the happiest in their jobs. The next closest were in The Netherlands where 57 per cent said they "Love it -- would do it for free" or "Like it a lot -- I enjoy what I do, but I could like it more" in response to the question -- "Which of the following best describes how much you love your current job?"

According to the survey, younger Canadian workers are most likely to be unhappy at work. About 13 per cent under the age of 25 said they dislike their jobs and think they could do better.

Sue Bruning, a professor in the department of business administration at the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba, said there are probably a number of factors at play leading to the difference in job satisfaction expressed by younger workers compared to older workers.

"They (younger workers) may be in lower level jobs that have less autonomy, challenge or responsibility, where older workers' jobs have more of these characteristics," she said in an email exchange. "Autonomy, control, challenge, opportunities for mastery, responsibility associated with decision-making authority and playing a part in the overall mission of the organization are some of the characteristics that are rated the highest by many employees."

Mark Swartz, a "career coach" with, suggested Canada's relatively benign experience during the last recession compared to tougher economic conditions in other countries might be one of the factors in Canadian workers expressing a greater degree of satisfaction in the workplace.

"Canadians were fortunate not to have to endure such a harsh recession like, for instance, the U.S. underwent," Swartz said. "So our workplaces did not become quite as lean and mean as some of the others."

He also suggested Canadian employers are doing better trying to understand what motivates employees.

"They are trying to meet more of the workers' needs compared to some countries that may tend to use more of the stick than the carrot (in attempting to motivate)," Swartz said.

It's probably not a surprise, but the survey also revealed the highest paid Canadian workers are most likely to say they are content with their employment. About 70 per cent of survey respondents in the higher income bracket said they love or like their jobs a lot. That level of satisfaction goes down to 55 per cent among medium earners and only 44 per cent of low earners.

The U of M's Bruning said, "Some would argue that pay needs to be high enough... so that employees can focus on their work and the contributions they can make to their organization."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 19, 2013 B3

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