Employees more pessimistic about recession: Survey

Workers predict longer recession, have more concerns about job security than employers

Canadian employees and employers have completely different perceptions about how long the recession will last and how it will impact workers' jobs, according to a new survey.

The 2009 Desjardins Financial Security Health Survey found employees are more pessimistic than employers, saying the recession will last an average of 1.78 years, while employers say it will last an average of 1.49 years.

"The eye of the storm is now behind us and the Canadian economy will bottom out this fall when the recovery will begin. However, it won't be until the fall of 2010 when we'll see the start of a true expansion phase when production will return to pre-recession levels. The recession will then have lasted about one year," said Yves St-Maurice, deputy chief economist with Desjardins Group.

The survey of 1,062 employees found 43 per cent of them are worried about losing their jobs and many believe that employers are using the recession as an excuse to cut staff. However, the survey, which also polled 381 employers, found 70 per cent of employers are actually increasing their workforces.

Employers are taking steps to mitigate the effects of the recession, but their methods don't match what employees want, according to the survey.

While 70 per cent of employers have improved benefits, this is a priority for only five per cent of employees. Nearly two-thirds of employers (64 per cent) have communicated the business implications of the recession to staff and 29 per cent have supported employees who were dramatically impacted by the recession (a priority for only five per cent of employees).

One thing employees and employers agree on is the negative affect the recession is having on workers' work-life balance. One-quarter of employees and 37 per cent of employers also agree the recession has negatively affected employees' physical health and 35 per cent of employees and 63 per cent of employers believe the recession has negatively affected workers' mental health.

"Employers must also help create a mentally-healthy workplace for their staff. Leadership on this issue starts at the top. For example, we encourage bosses to keep the lines of communication open with tools like employee surveys and bi-monthly staff meetings. These are inexpensive aids that will help keep employees engaged, empowered and supported," said Taylor Alexander, CEO of The Canadian Mental Health Association.

To read the full story, login below.

Not a subscriber?

Start your subscription today!