Canadian Employees' Aspirations

March 1 2008 - Canadians are most attracted by jobs in the government and entertainment sectors according to a new workplace survey conducted by Ipsos Reid for RBC. Conversely, the least desirable employment opportunities are in the accounting, financial services and trade sectors.

The Competition for Canadian Talent survey found that 34% of respondents regarded government the most appealing sector to work in, followed by entertainment (27%), while financial services were favoured by just 11% and accounting by 9%.

Christianne Paris, vice-president, Recruitment and Learning, RBC commented:

"It was surprising to see financial services and accounting near the bottom of the list, given that we receive hundreds of thousands of resumes each year and hire several thousand people in Canada annually.

We strive to provide an interesting and inclusive work environment that draws on the strengths, talents and differences of our diverse workforce and even though for the past several years, we have been rated as one of the best companies to work for in Canada, the survey seems to indicate that there is still work to be done to get the word out."

52% of survey respondents said they had a strong sense of loyalty to their current employers but only 28% said they would stay with the them if they were offered a comparable job with more pay elsewhere. Respondents highlighted the following benefits in terms of their attractiveness:

  • higher pay (69%)
  • better health/benefit coverage (35%)
  • cash bonus or profit sharing incentives (34%)
  • opportunity for advancement (23%), and
  • opportunity for increased work/life balance (20%)

Christianne Paris added:

"It is not enough to just offer someone a job. Employers need to look at and annually review their total employment package which should include salary, benefits, learning and development options as well as an engaging work environment. In order to recruit or keep top talent, employers need to meet the needs of both prospective and current employees."

On average Canadian employees had worked for their present employer for 8.4 years, compared to the 8.3 years found in a similar RBC survey ten years ago. The new survey also showed that employed Canadians had worked for 5.3 different employers since beginning their careers.

47% of respondents intended to stay with their current employers for 5 years or less while 24% were planning to stay for 20 years or more. In fact, 28% would rather stay with a single employer for most of their career and 36% would rather change jobs within their organization than look elsewhere.


While almost a half of Canadian workers expect to change their jobs five times during their careers, nearly one-third keep maintain an up-to-date resume in case opportunity knocks. 30% of respondents had applied for a new job in the previous year and 66% felt they had the right qualities for career success in the next decade.

"Employers must recognize that people need to feel challenged and successful in their jobs otherwise they will seek it elsewhere, either by watching for new and exciting opportunities within their own company or outside of it, or breaking away completely and choosing a different career path altogether," said Christianne Paris.

The RBC poll was conducted online by Ipsos Reid between November 5 and November 15, 2007, based on a sample of 2,052 Canadian full and part-time employees. Data were statistically weighted to reflect regional and age composition of the actual employed Canadian population according to the 2006 Census.