On-Line Surveys: Survey Results

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What Do You Value in a Job?

Here is What Our Respondents Had to Say

We asked visitors to JobQuality.ca to tell us what they valued in a job. We used a question from the CPRN-EKOS Changing Employment Relationships Survey (CERS) (2000). Visitors who responded to the on-line survey were asked “If you were looking for a new job today, how important would the following be to you?” Respondents rated 17 job characteristics on a scale ranging from 1 (not at all important) to 5 (very important). We will focus here on the ratings of those who indicated an item was “very important”.

It should be noted that this survey is not random and therefore may not be representative of Canadian workers as a whole. These findings represent a snapshot of what some visitors to the site indicate they value in a job. In all, 201 visitors took time to complete the survey (152 women and 49 men).

Highly Valued Job Features

So what do website visitors consider “very important in a job”? The chart below shows that non-monetary items are highly valued. Interesting work is the job feature that most respondents (90 percent) consider “very important”. This was followed closely by other non-monetary job characteristics such as: work that gives a feeling of accomplishment (88 percent); work where people treat you with respect (83 percent); work that lets you develop skills (79 percent); and work that allows work-life balance (71 percent). Interestingly, the economic rewards of a job, such as good benefits (45 percent), a job that pays well (37 percent), and job security (35 percent) are much further down the list. Although economic job features are still very important to many respondents, non-monetary features are more often seen as very important to our survey respondents. For many, work is much more than just a paycheque.

Work is More Than Just a Paycheque


Source: www.jobquality.ca on-line survey: “What do you value in a job?” (2004)(n=201).

The higher incidence of employer sponsored training by respondents is likely explained by the high education levels reported by our visitors. Almost 66 percent of visitors reported that they have at least a bachelor’s degree, suggesting a highly educated group of survey respondents. Research has often found that well educated employees are more likely to receive employer sponsored training and the survey results appear to support that.

How do the responses from our website visitors compare with those of other Canadian workers? Like our web survey respondents, Canadian workers also put more emphasis on non-monetary job characteristics, although the degree of emphasis is not as great. Data from CERS reveals that more than 70 percent of Canadian workers consider respect, interesting work, meaningful work, and good communications with co-workers as key ingredients of a good job. At the same time, 62 percent of Canadian workers indicated that economic rewards such as job security and good pay were key components of a good job. See the JobQuality.ca indicator “It’s More than the Money- What Canadians Want in a Job” for more information on what Canadian workers value in a job.

The data from our on-line survey as well as the CERS both point to the importance of non-monetary aspects of work. Economic rewards such as pay, benefits, and job security are still important to many, but are certainly not all that matters to Canadian workers. To retain and recruit workers in the future, employers need to offer a work environment characterized by respect, interesting and meaningful work, opportunities for skill development, work-life balance, and good communications.

If you have any comments on these findings, please let us know at jobquality@cprn.org.

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