Workaholics unsatisfied with work-life balance

They work more hours but don't earn more money and don't enjoy their jobs more than other workers

One out of every three Canadians identifies themselves as a workaholic, and these individuals are much more likely to be dissatisfied with the balance between their work and family time than other workers, a new Statistics Canada study has found.

The study, published in the May online edition of Canadian Social Trends, used data from the 2005 General Social Survey (GSS) to examine whether quality of life is different for workers who describe themselves as workaholics than for those who do not self-identify as workaholics.

The study found that almost one-third (31 per cent) of working Canadians aged 19 to 64 identify themselves as workaholics. This proportion has not changed in the past 15 years.

About 39 per cent of self-identified workaholics reported that they usually worked 50 or more hours per week, twice the proportion among non-workaholics (20 per cent).

On the other hand, 65 per cent of workaholics worried that they do not spend enough time with family and friends, a much higher proportion than the 45 per cent of non-workaholics who reported doing so. They were also more likely to report that the general state of their health was fair or poor, and that they had trouble sleeping.

However, they did not enjoy their jobs more than other workers. On a 10-point scale, both groups reported an average satisfaction score of 7.4 with their work.

Similarly, there was no difference in terms of satisfaction with their financial situation, suggesting that people who consider themselves workaholics aren't driven by monetary reasons.

The study found self-identified workaholics were more likely than non-workaholics to feel rushed, trapped in a daily routine, and unable to accomplish what they set out to do at the beginning of the day.

Over one-half (56 per cent) felt they simply did not have time for fun, much higher than the one-third (34 per cent) of non-workaholics who felt that way.

According to the 2005 GSS, there was no significant difference between self-identified workaholics and non-workaholics in terms of their personal income, education, marital status, family structure, or place of residence.

But compared with non-workaholics, workaholics were more likely to be in management jobs and less likely to be professionals. It is possible that professionals accept that working longer hours are an integral part of their professional role.

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