'A job for life' doesn't sound rewarding to Canadians: survey

Respondents also said organizations owe more of a duty to employees and the community rather than customers and shareholders

The majority of Canadians trust small to medium sized firms to create jobs, rather than multinational corporations or the government, and don’t find staying with one company for their entire careers rewarding, according to a recent survey.

The survey, Confidence of Canadians in Companies on Job Creation and Social Responsibilities, was sponsored by the Canadian Press and conducted by Leger Marketing.

Two-thirds of respondents (66 per cent) said they place the most trust small and medium-sized organizations to create jobs. Sixteen per cent said they trusted government, while only 11 per cent put their faith in multinational organizations.

Employers owe a duty to employees, not customers

A good chunk of Canadians said employers owe a duty to their employees and the local population where the companies do business.

It is mainly toward their employees (23 per cent) and the local population in the regions where they are established (22 per cent) that companies must assume their principal responsibilities; followed by clients (17 per cent) and the environment (14 per cent), respondents said.

But there were regional differences. For example, Quebec respondents were more likely to state that companies had obligations primarily towards the local population (27 per cent) and the environment (18 per cent.) But in Ontario, a strong proportion (21 per cent) chose shareholders as those to whom companies mainly have obligations.

Manual workers (33 per cent), employees in the service, sales and office work sectors (27 per cent) as well as women (26 per cent) were proportionately more likely to choose employees, the survey said.

What are the most rewarding career path?

A small proportion of Canadians (14 per cent) said public service was a rewarding career path from a professional standpoint. An equally small proportion (14 per cent) considered it rewarding to spend an entire career within the same large company.

Entrepreneurship, either creating your own company or being self-employed, seemed to tempt respondents more than other suggested options since slightly more than 4 out of 10 Canadians (41 per cent) identified this option as a more rewarding career path.

Women (16 per cent) and university graduates (16 per cent) were more likely to consider a career in public service as rewarding. This was not the case for men (11 per cent), francophones (10 per cent) and manual workers (four per cent).

Entrepreneurship mainly tempted students (58 per cent), the unemployed (58 per cent), Canadians between 18 and 24 (52 per cent) and men (47 per cent.) Women (35 per cent) and Canadians from the Prairies (33 per cent) are less likely to consider entrepreneurship as a rewarding career path.

Less government regulation

The majority of respondents (52 per cent) said companies should be trusted and given more freedom in order to face economic difficulties.

A minority (42 per cent) said the government should control and regulate companies more closely during times of economic difficulties.

Canadians want good corporate citizens

The majority of respondents (58 per cent) said the role of companies is not limited to an economic one and that they must also be involved in society as a corporate citizen.

Only 39 per cent said the role of companies is mainly to produce goods and services, to create jobs and to make a profit.


The study was conducted by Leger Marketing through telephone interviews among a representative sample of 1,502 English- or French-speaking Canadians, 18 years of age or older.

The interviews were conducted from May 17 to May 22, 2005. The maximum margin of error is plus or minus 2.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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