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Me vs. We: Disconnect Between Employees and Employers Leads to Wandering Eyes in Canadian Workplaces

Canadian employees are less loyal to their employers than their global counterparts, and more than three-in-five Canadians have 'wandering eyes', according to findings from the newest Evolution of Work study conducted by the ADP Research Institute®.

The research, which polled more than 5,300 employees and 3,200 employers across 13 countries, showed that only 57 per cent of Canadian employees feel loyal to their employer – well below the global average (70%), and while only one-in-five (20%) are actively looking for new employment opportunities, an additional 43 per cent would be open to a new job.

However, this lack of loyalty isn't for lack of effort. The majority of Canadian employees (75%) understand how they contribute to the success of their company, and nearly as many (71%) want to play an important role in their company. But while eager, they feel undervalued.  Only half said the work that they do is purposeful (51%) or valued (47%) – a substantial disconnect from employers, who were more optimistic that employees feel purposeful (65%) and valued (63%) within the organization.

"It's clear there's a substantial disconnect between the employee experience and expectations, and the employer's perception. A disconnect that poses a risk for employers in losing talent and leads employees to look for other job opportunities," said Virginia Brailey, vice president, marketing and strategy, ADP Canada. "Canadian employees are looking for meaning and purpose in their work but they feel the core elements of talent management are out of their control.  Organizations that invest in humanizing talent attraction, management and retention stand to benefit from a more engaged, motivated and loyal workforce."

The Evolution of Work 2.0 report also uncovered other unique trends impacting the Canadian workplace:

Openness and transition

  • 61% of employees say the expectations they had in joining their company have been met, while more than half (53%) say they have walked away from a job opportunity because it turned out to be different than what they expected.
  • Employees on average are willing to change jobs for a 12.2% salary increase, significantly less than the global average (15%).
  • In Canada, both employees (47%) and employers (71%) hear about job opportunities within their company more often than in the U.S. (34% employees, 59% employers).
  • Employers (58%) are more apt than employees (45%) to believe that you need to leave your company to advance your career, and that everyone should always be looking for their next job either within their organization or outside it (59% employers vs. 47% employees).

Meaning and talent management

  • Employers believe they are doing a much better job at talent management than employees feel they are across the board. 83% of employers believe that performance reviews provide important milestones for development and advancement, while only 58% of employees feel the same.
  • Despite these poor perceptions of talent management, most employees feel they know how to be successful at their company (67%), understand how their performance will be judged (72%), and feel empowered to excel in their job (61%).

Attraction, retention and attrition

  • Work hours, flexible schedule and the work itself are the top three factors for selecting a job, while poor manager relationships, work hours, the work itself and lack of career development are the top four reasons for leaving a job.
  • Most employees (69%) say they feel a strong connection with their immediate peers.
  • Canadian employers (84%) feel more strongly about the need to train employees for future jobs than employers in the U.S. (74%).
  • Interestingly, in the always-on culture of today the majority (76%) of employers believe employees expect to disconnect at the end of the day, but employees have less expectation to disconnect (62%).

"By considering the personal connection and meaning of each role for each employee, managers can create an employment journey for staff that is fulfilling, rewarding and beneficial for both the company and the individual," added Brailey. "This will help to both retain talent and drive a stronger bottom line in the short and long term."

Survey methodology

An online survey was conducted among 5,330 employees and 3,218 employers across 13 countries in companies of 50+ employees, including 267 employees and 200 employers in Canada. The full findings of the Evolution of Work 2.0 survey are available online at