Workers' happiness levels drop in December

But Canadians feeling optimistic about workload in 2024, finds report

Workers' happiness levels drop in December

There was a slight drop in Canadian workers’ overall happiness levels in the last month of 2023, according to a report from ADP Canada.

Specifically, the National Work Happiness Score for December 2023 is 6.6/10, representing a decrease of 0.2 points from November.

It was also 0.1 points lower than the levels reported in October, according to ADP.

"While a new year can pose many uncertainties for workers whether it's concerns around budget cuts or career advancements, a good employer can help dispel these fears," says Heather Haslam, vice president of marketing, ADP Canada.

"In communicating transparently, as well as providing support in and outside of the workplace, it offers employees a sense of security and reassurance which can help develop a more positive outlook as we transition into the new year.”

Drops across all happiness indicators, age groups

The drop in happiness levels reflects the decrease in scores across indicators, finds ADP’s report based on a survey of 1,200 respondents.

The primary indicator score stands at 6.8/10 in December, down 0.2 points from November. The same is true for all secondary indicators:

  • work-life balance & flexibility: 6.7/10 (down 0.3 points from November) 
  • recognition & support: 6.4/10 (down 0.3)
  • compensation & benefits:6.1/10 ( down 0.2)
  • options for career advancement: 5.9/10 (down 0.2) 

This trend also reflects across all age groups:

  • boomers (59+): 6.9/10 (down 0.3)
  • gen-Z (18-26): 6.8/10 (down 0.1)
  • millennials (27-42): 6.5/10 (down 0.3)
  • gen-X (43-58): 6.4/10 (down 0.2)

Among different geographic regions in Canada, there was no change in happiness scores in British Columbia (6.9/10) and Alberta (6.6/10) between November and December 2023.

However, it fell in all other regions in the last month of the year:

  • Québec: 6.9/10 (down 0.1)
  • Atlantic Canada: 6.7/10 (down 0.2)
  • Sask/Manitoba: 6.5/10 (down 0.3)
  • Ontario: 6.4/10 (-0.3)

Also, workers are less optimistic (56%) about getting an increase in salary and compensation this year.

Workload and flexibility in 2024

But there are some things workers have a positive outlook on this year, according to ADP.

Three-quarters (75 per cent) of workers are optimistic about taking time off and 72 per cent share a similar sentiment about having a manageable workload heading into 2024.

More than half (53%) of Canadian employees have had a negative feeling about work, and 30% felt tired and overworked, according to a previous ADP Canada study.

"While it is encouraging to see that workers in Canada are feeling optimistic about their workload in 2024, driving a healthy employee experience is multi-layered, and as the cost of living continues to rise, employees' attention to compensation and benefits will do so in tandem,” says Haslam.

“A few ways employers can support in alleviating financial stress and foster a more resilient workforce can be through conducting an audit of the current compensation and benefits, developing financial wellness programs, flexible work arrangements, as well as various professional development opportunities.”

Employers should not aim for workers to feel happy at work all the time, one expert previously told CHRR.

This year, “flexibility with intentionality is set to address talent demands,” says Sander van ‘t Noordende, Randstad CEO, in a Forbes article.

“In 2024, employers should seek to better understand why flexibility is so important to talent. The focus should also be on how flexibility is executed, recognising that it means different things to different people.

“I believe that employers with policies based on flexibility with intentionality will likely prevail as the most effective and popular. This is achieved by addressing workforce needs in a way that also promotes culture, performance and engagement. Doing so positions companies to not only succeed but also stand out as an employer of choice.”

Latest stories