How British Columbians feel about their jobs

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We might not love our jobs, our paycheques or our benefits—but for many of us, there’s nowhere we’d rather work than here in B.C. Behind the results from our exclusive workplace survey, done in partnership with Ipsos and the Human Resources Management Association

Retirees and students excluded, British Columbians spend most of their waking hours at work—or getting to and from the office, thinking about that presentation, bitching about their boss. So it should come as no surprise that when we surveyed you on your employment situation, many expressed some pretty strong opinions. And surprisingly—at least for this ink-stained wretch—you’re a pretty contented lot.

Fully 73 per cent of those British Columbians surveyed (an Ipsos study, conducted between August 13 and September 2, of 874 adult Canadians—302 from B.C.) said they “tend to agree” (43%) or “strongly agree” (30%) with the statement: “I am satisfied with my current employer.” That’s about the same as the rest of Canada. Where there’s a noticeable divergence is on the question of “are you actively looking for employment opportunities elsewhere?” Outside B.C., about a third of Canadians (34%) either strongly or somewhat agree with the proposition. Here in Lotusland? Just 19 per cent.

Michael Rodenburgh, executive vice-president for Ipsos in Western Canada, thinks he knows why. “British Columbian workers are willing to sacrifice to stay in the region. That’s absolutely atypical when we compare it to the rest of Canada. It’s that connection to lifestyle—that unquantifiable element that makes your life more pleasurable.” Rodenburgh also thinks that this province’s relatively high rate of unionization (35% compared to 25% for the rest of Canada) is a contributing factor: “When you think about it, a union provides much more security. If you don’t have that security, it might mean that you’re more mobile.”

According to Lefebvre says that B.C. has long been able to trade on its natural advantages—the so-called B.C. Advantage—to attract and retain employees, and keep them engaged. But he says it would be foolhardy to assume that millennials—more equipped to work in a global economy and more mobile than older generations—are wedded to the idea of staying in B.C. no matter the career limitations. He says that business leaders need to create a comprehensive strategy to retain millennials and become more competitive.

“In B.C., in addition to providing a great environment, we have to demonstrate to millennials that we are equal to other regions. Even if it has a nice climate, they will eventually leave if they can make a few thousand dollars a year more somewhere else. That’s the way millennials have been programmed.”



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