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Job Satisfaction

Other job quality indicators on this site have reported that workers say they are very satisfied with some aspects of their jobs, but are markedly less satisfied about other aspects. Differences have also been observed across gender, age, education, provincial, occupation and industry lines. For instance, we’ve reported elsewhere on the Jobquality site that between two-thirds and three-quarters of employed Canadians say they are satisfied with the number of hours that they work, and about 80 percent report that they get along with, and trust, their boss or supervisor. Other indicators have found that union members tend to express higher levels of satisfaction than their non-union peers with their pay and fringe benefits. 

However, some of our other indicators suggest that Canadian workers are not satisfied with all aspects of their jobs. Only one in two, for instance, report that they have a meaningful degree of influence in their workplace, one in three say that their job is not secure, and one in four say that their workplace is unhealthy. While we have some idea of what Canadians say about various aspect of their jobs, how do Canadian workers rate their jobs overall?


Employed Men and Women Express Equal Levels of Job Satisfaction

Source: CPRN - EKOS Changing Employment Relationships Survey (2000).

As the chart indicates, about seven in 10 Canadians say that they are satisfied or very satisfied with their job, while one in 9 report overall dissatisfaction. This suggests that job satisfaction, in at least a general sense, it is not a huge concern in Canada. Moreover, despite continued differences in work rewards and gender segregation in the labour market, there appears to be no difference in how men and women rate their job satisfaction.

There is no difference between younger and older workers in terms of the percentages reporting being dissatisfied with their jobs. However, older workers (aged 45 years or more) were more likely to report being very satisfied with their jobs than younger workers (less than 25 years old). This is likely because older workers have had time to settle into jobs and occupations that better suit their interests and abilities. Their longer experience in the labour market also means that they are more likely to enjoy higher earnings and more benefits.


By Size of Workplace / Type of Employment

The Self Employed and Those in Small Firms Most Satisfied

Source: CPRN - EKOS Changing Employment Relationships Survey (2000).

With respect to type of employment, 43 percent of self-employed Canadians say that they are very satisfied with their job. This is the case for only one in four Canadians who have an employer. Moreover, only 4 percent of self-employed people in Canada say that they are dissatisfied with their work, less than half the rate reported by paid employees.

There are also differences by firm size, with those in the smallest (fewer than 25 employees) and the largest (500 or more employees) firms expressing the highest levels of overall job satisfaction. Research suggests that small firms often offer more collegial and informal working environments to their employees. Employees of large firms, on the other hand, often enjoy higher rates of pay and greater access to a range of benefits, like health and dental benefits and pensions. Also, large firms offer a greater number of both career opportunities and working environments. 


By Occupation

Satisfaction Most Common in Social Sciences, Arts/Culture and Management Occupations

Source: CPRN - EKOS Changing Employment Relationships Survey (2000).

There are some differences in overall job satisfaction across occupations. The percentage of workers who reported being satisfied or very satisfied ranged from 83 percent of workers in occupations in social sciences, government, education and religion to 57 percent in occupations in processing and manufacturing. Job satisfaction was also high in occupations in arts and culture and in management. Relatively larger percentages of workers in manufacturing, the primary industries and trades, transportation and equipment occupations – all skilled and unskilled blue-collar occupations involving working with machinery, often in plants, and often in noisy and/dangerous environments - expressed dissatisfaction with their jobs.


By Industry

Educators Express the Highest Level of Job Satisfaction

Source: CPRN - EKOS Changing Employment Relationships Survey (2000).

Job satisfaction also varies by industry with the highest levels of overall job satisfaction being reported by those employed in education. A high level of job satisfaction was reported by 36 percent of those working in education and another 45 percent reported that they were satisfied. Moreover, those employed in education were least likely to report that they were dissatisfied with their jobs, with only one in 20 reporting this to be the case. 

Workers in the retail trade industry were least likely to report that they were satisfied with their job, with only two of every three retail workers reporting that they were at least ‘satisfied.’ And more than a quarter of workers in that industry were neutral regarding their job, being neither positive nor negative when asked whether they were satisfied with their job. Compared to the education industry, workers in public administration tended to be less positive regarding job satisfaction. Only 22 percent of workers in this industry reported being very satisfied with their job and 14 percent – roughly one in seven – reported being dissatisfied.


By Province

Dissatisfaction Highest in Western Provinces and in Ontario

Source: CPRN - EKOS Changing Employment Relationships Survey (2000).
For the most part, there are only small differences across provinces. However, we do note that the percentage of workers who reported being dissatisfied with their jobs is somewhat higher in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, all at about 11 percent. As was noted in a previous chart, job dissatisfaction tends to be somewhat higher in the primary industries, like forestry and mining, and in manufacturing, all industries that account for relatively large percentages of workers in those provinces. This compares to about 6 percent of workers in the Atlantic Provinces, Quebec and Saskatchewan and Manitoba reporting being dissatisfied with their jobs.

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