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Most Canadians feel their work is ‘just a job’: survey

Attendees line up for an interview with a prospective employer at a job fair in Washington, August 6, 2009. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Are you one of those people who view their work as “just a job?”

Chances are the person in the car or the bus seat next to you on the way to work feels the same way.

Almost 60 per cent of workers don’t consider their occupation a career, according to a recent survey from Careerbuilder.ca.

While the survey may be intended to help lure people into searching for a new job at Careerbuilder.ca, it also paints a decent picture of how employees feel sitting in their offices each day. It might also offer some advice on employers who want to motivate their staff – regardless of whether they’re working in their dream job or not.

Those who don’t like their jobs blame their boss, the pay and complain that they aren’t challenged or valued at the office. On the flip side, those who love their jobs cite the people they work with, the pay, their boss and feeling valued at work as the main reasons.

"Offering frequent recognition, merit bonuses, training programs and clearly defined career paths are important ways to show workers what they mean to the company," said Mark Bania, of CareerBuilder Canada.

"With new positions constantly being added across Canada each month that are enticing workers to change jobs, now is the time for employers to look at their recruitment strategies and make adjustments so their top talent doesn't jump ship."

The Harris poll says 58 per cent Canadian workers feel that they have "just a job," while 42 per cent said what they did at work each day was considered a career.

Looking for a new opportunity

It also says about a quarter of 23 per cent plan to change jobs this year, up from 17 per cent last year.

A slight pickup in the economy could be part of the reason, as more companies look to hire new workers. The more people jump jobs, the more openings for others.

Job hopping is also increasingly common in today’s workplace. A recent Workopolis poll showed only 30 per cent of Canadians stay in one job for more than four years. That’s compared with about 60 per cent in 2002.

Unhappiness at work could also be related to changing career goals. The Workopolis survey said 48 per cent of people they polled had three or more distinct career paths.

"Job hopping is becoming an increasingly common pattern in Canada's employment market," said Tara Talbot of Workopolis. "While historically it may raise a red flag, in today's market it can also demonstrate unique qualities, such as broad industry perspective, flexibility and an inclination towards hard-work and risk-taking - all sought after assets in a candidate."

To help prevent a revolving door at the workplace, Careerbuilder.ca recommends employers listen to their staff more closely. Paying them more also helps.

When employees were asked what would keep them in the current job, 74 per cent said higher pay, 56 per cent said more recognition such as trips and rewards, 55 per cent were seeking better benefits and 52 per cent cited asking employees for feedback about how to better run things at work. Flexible work schedules were also important, as well as training and learning opportunities.

The Careerbuilder.ca poll was done online last year and included 426 full-time, private sector employees aged 18 and older, across industries and company sizes.