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One-third of Canadian workers feeling tired, overworked: ADP research

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November 2, 2023
By Talent Canada

Every job, no matter how exciting it seems on the surface, has some mundane aspect. (LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe Stock)

Many Canadian workers are yawning their way to the end of the year.

A new survey by ADP Canada, conducted with Maru Public Opinion, found more than half (53%) of workers in Canada report having a negative feeling about work and nearly one-third (30%) feel tired and overworked, shedding light on the crucial need for a renewed focus on work-life balance, compensation, and family considerations in the evolving workplace, it said.

With one-third of workers reporting they feel overworked and tired, it’s not surprising that work-life balance is the top priority for almost a third (29%) of respondents and in the top three priorities of nearly seven-in-ten (68%). Compensation and benefits and family considerations round out the top three priorities for workers in Canada, it said.

Different generations, different priorities

The survey indicates that Millennials and Gen X workers are notably more inclined to prioritize work-life balance (30%), while Boomers prioritize their families (26%). Gen Z, on the other hand, is less likely to prioritize compensation (13%) than the other generations, it said.


“The survey results re-affirm the need for employers to connect with workers. Face-to-face time, coaching sessions and regular check-ins – particularly with the younger workforce, can help employers build trust and be better equipped to support their teams,” said Ed Yuen, vice-president, strategy and HR outsourcing at ADP Canada.

External factors impacting employee sentiment

Seven-in-ten (70%) workers in Canada report feeling stressed because of inflation and the economy. In fact, due to these current economic conditions affecting employees, almost a quarter (23%) of workers are considering exploring better opportunities, the research found.

Despite these challenges, 39 per cent of workers believe they are in the right workplace.

The role of trust and employer proactivity in the workplace

While workers are reporting mixed feelings, they also indicate better levels of feedback, trust and comfort with their managers than last year, with 77 per cent of employees trusting their managers, and over eight-in-ten (82%) managers also reporting having trust in employees.

The survey also finds that 72 per cent of managers say they believe their employees are happy.

At the same time, more than half (58%) of workers indicate that their workplaces take their goals and feedback seriously, revealing a 5-percentage point increase from last year (53%). Additionally, regular check-ins remain a standard practice, as four-in-ten (42%) respondents meet with their managers or management teams weekly, fostering an environment where many workers in Canada (74%) say they feel comfortable going to their manager to voice concerns.

“Positive year-over-year progress in feedback, trust and comfort between managers and employees in the Canadian workplace is promising to see,” said Yuen. “However, with more than half of workers feeling negatively towards their workplace, it suggests additional opportunities for employers to reassess and develop current workplace practices including regular one-on-one check-ins, flexible schedules and open conversations regarding compensation and benefits for current and potential employees.”

Survey methodology

This Maru Public Opinion survey conducted on behalf of ADP Canada was undertaken by the sample and data collection experts at Maru/Blue. 1,842 employed Canadian adults (including both employees and self-employed individuals) who are Maru Voice Canada panelists were surveyed from September 15th to September 19th, 2023.

The results of this study have been weighted by education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Canada. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.3%, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals when compared to the data tables are due to rounding.

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