Overworked, isolated and stressed out amid a global pandemic, Canadians are champing at the bit for a fresh start at work, a survey from recruitment firm Hays Canada has found.
Nearly half of respondents in a survey taken for the annual Hays Canada salary guide ― 49 per cent ― said they are ready to quit their job, up from 40 per cent in a year earlier.
Even as businesses’ outlooks turn rosy amid an economic recovery, “reduced social interaction, increased workloads and a lack of well-being and mental health support are among concerns cited by Canadian employees,” Hays said.
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“You would think in a pandemic people would want to hang on (to their jobs). So a 9-per-cent jump in a pandemic? Wow,” Hays Canada president Travis O’Rourke said.
“COVID-19 has left everyone exhausted and while many businesses are improving, staff are waving a white flag.... Once we turn a corner on the pandemic or see more signs of job market strength, those employees are gone.”
Travis said businesses have prioritized survival over all else during the crisis, possibly to the detriment of their staff.
“What employers need to do is to talk to people. Check in with your staff and ask, ‘How are you doing?’ You’re far better off getting that from them up front than to get that in an exit interview when they leave for a competitor,” he told HuffPost Canada.
There’s also some disagreement between employers and employees on how things have been going since millions of office workers began working from home this spring.
While workers feel they are more productive, their bosses often disagree. The Hays report suggests that the interruptions created by the pandemic has made businesses less efficient, even if workers feel more productive.
“An employee thinks ’I used to commute an hour each way and now I just log on, so I’m at the office longer, so I’m more productive. But, maybe because you’re working alone or in your silo, it may take you longer to do something than it would if you were next to your colleague or manager.”
But for now, as the pandemic continues, both businesses and employees seem to be in wait-and-see mode. Most companies are just trying to recover staff levels to where they were before the pandemic, and aren’t planning many hiring sprees.
“It’s taking employers a bit longer to make decisions, and taking employees longer to make the decision to make the leap,” O’Rourke said.
Job listings have recovered nearly to their pre-pandemic levels, O’Rourke noted, though Statistics Canada data shows the country still has about 700,000 fewer jobs than it did before the pandemic.
The pandemic’s second wave has given many people “a moment’s pause,” he added.
But if the forecasts for a vaccine are correct, and life returns to normal next year, “2021 is going to be moving season,” O’Rourke said.