Canadian Job Seekers Prioritize Work-Life Balance Over Corporate Ladder 

While Canadian job seekers feel they exceed performance expectations, 68% define professional success as advancing in their careers, and 56% believe this can only be accomplished by climbing the corporate ladder. However, 63% of job seekers say they aren’t interested in climbing the corporate ladder. Hiring decision-makers agree the definition of success for employees is advancing in their careers (66%) and 51% report the only way to do so is to climb the corporate ladder, according to an Express Employment Professionals-Harris Poll survey.  

When it comes to advancement, 80% of hiring decision-makers believe employees want to advance in their careers and 63% believe advancing their careers is the best way for employees to add value to a company. Hiring decision-makers recognize that tides are changing, as 87% agree it is more important for employees to have a meaningful job than a high-level job title, and 84% report more employees are defining success by work-life balance than climbing the corporate ladder now compared to three years ago.  

Work-Life Balance at the Forefront 

Climbing the corporate ladder has pros and cons—a higher job title and greater responsibility are often paired with improved compensation and benefits, but may come at the cost of work-life balance and flexibility. 

Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index, which surveyed 31 markets, including Canada, found that 53% of employees are more likely to prioritize health and wellbeing over work than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees are also considering new factors in their “worth it equation,” including family, personal life, and flexible schedules. The benefits of work-life balance when supported by a company are clear, from reduced turnover to improved productivity and better mental health for employees, according to Harvard Business Review. Canada ranked among the top 10 countries with the best work-life balance, according to a report by Remote Technology Inc.  

Views on Employees Who Don’t Choose Advancement 

Around half of hiring decision-makers (49%) feel employees who have no desire to advance are looked upon negatively at their company, and 57% commonly describe these employees negatively. Yet, 85% of hiring decision-makers agree that employees content with remaining in their current roles still contribute to the success of a company. These employees may be viewed as knowing their limit (24%) and knowing what they want (20%) by hiring decision-makers.  

A lack of upward mobility can drive employees to job search. A mental health index report from Telus Health found that 20% of respondents looking to leave their jobs were doing so in pursuit of better career opportunities.  

Companies must balance job seekers’ desires to prioritize their personal lives with identifying, training, and promoting employees with leadership potential who desire to climb the corporate ladder.  

To provide accurate and timely employment forecasts for business leaders, Express Employment Professionals commissions an ongoing Job Insights survey to track employment and hiring trends across a wide range of industries. The Job Insights survey was conducted online within Canada by The Harris Poll on behalf of Express Employment Professionals between June 8 and June 22, 2023, among 507 Canadian hiring decision-makers.  

The Job Seeker Report was conducted online within Canada by The Harris Poll on behalf of Express Employment Professionals from June 13 to 16, 2023 among 507 Canadian job seekers.  

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