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What You Would Change In Your Job?

Here is What Our Respondents Had to Say

In 2002, we asked visitors to JobQuality.ca to tell us "what would be the single most important change you would like to see in your job?" In all, we received 64 responses to our question, and there are several common themes that run through them. Many respondents emphasized the importance of recognition and respect from managers and co-workers. The 2001 CPRN publication, What's A Good Job? The Importance of Employment Relationships found that employee's social relations with supervisor and co-workers was often viewed as an important prerequisite of a good job. Moreover, respect was viewed by many in that study to be the crux of a good employer/employee relationship.

In our on-line survey, one respondent writes that they would like to work for a manager who "understands people and how to treat them as human beings, not objects," while another notes that they would like to see their manager put "less focus on the needs of the employer and more on the needs of the employees." Along similar lines, one participant comments that they want to "be treated like the professional that I am," while another seeks "more recognition for a job well done." Another respondent remarks that they would like "more appreciation and recognition from co-workers," while another notes they would like to see the "me-centred attitude changed to a we-centred" one. One respondent even suggests that they would actually change their manager if presented the opportunity to do so.

It almost goes without saying that many workplaces are characterized by some form of "workplace politics," an issue raised by several respondents. "It would improve my job immeasurably if the 'politics' were more constructive than destructive," writes one individual. Indeed, many of the self-employed individuals in the What's A Good Job? focus groups indicated that they had been dissatisfied as employees with annoyances such as "workplace politics."

Another common issue was that of workload. One individual reports that they would appreciate a more "reasonable volume of work demands," while another sought to have "workload issues addressed," and another wanted "more time" to do their work. One manager noted that heavy work demands got in the way of his/her ability to train and lead staff. "I would like a manageable workload so that I could spend more time mentoring staff and developing new ways of doing business" writes that individual. Indeed, Linda Duxbury and Chris Higgins reported that work-life conflict and workload rose markedly throughout the 1990s (see - Work-Life Balance in the New Millennium: Where Are We? Where Do We Need to Go?).

Perhaps in part related to the issue of workload was that of work schedules. "More leisure time, more flexible hours of work" was the request of one individual. Another adds "I would like a more flexible schedule - more choice as to what time I come in and leave or take time off," a point echoed by two others, one who seeks more "flexibility in terms of working from home," and another who wants "more flexibility with respect to time off."

Dissatisfaction with pay/compensation was another common theme. Comments ranged from a desire for "higher pay," "an increase in my hourly wage," "more money," "appropriate compensation," and "to be paid at the same rate as colleagues in other locations."

Another set of comments dealt with control over work and other aspects of job design. Some individuals want more scope for "creativity," while others desire increased diversity in duties, "more responsibility," and more "focused" and "meaningful assignments." One writes that they would like "more decision making opportunities rather than always 'asking for permission'."

Comments about communication were also fairly common, ranging from a desire to have "improved communications between departments," and "more communication about what is happening globally within my department." Other comments included a desire for "more clarity around expectations"

Several respondents express dissatisfaction with their current prospects for skill and/or career advancement. One individual reports frustration over a perceived lack of opportunity for skill development on the job while another seeks more "opportunities for career advancement." Perhaps a reflection of the so-called glass ceiling many women face in the professional world, one respondent wishes that women had "the same opportunities for succession and advancement into leadership as men."

Other issues raised, though less frequently, include comments about job security, employer support (that is having adequate resources to do their job properly and access to employer sponsored parental support) and better organisation on the part of management.

These comments highlight the many factors that constitute a 'good job.' While pay and benefits are certainly important elements in this equation, other factors loom large. For many, these 'softer' issues are of great importance. The results of this survey, albeit unscientific, by and large mirror the findings of other more 'scientific' studies which indicate that respect, control over work and other issues like workload are of high importance to many workers. These are concerns that employers should heed as they seek to attract and retain workers.


We would like to thank those visitors who took the time to complete this survey.