What Career Development Looks Like in the Canadian Workplace
By Mario R. Gravelle
CERIC’s Environics Survey finds differences in employer views by region, location and business size
The Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC) is dedicated to exploring attitudes towards career development matters in Canada. CERIC commissioned Environics Research Group to survey Canadian business leaders about these issues. The 500 executives offered their opinions on approaches to recruiting, tactics which allow them to ensure their workforce has the right technical and soft skills to meet their needs, as well as the training and career management opportunities they provide. The findings below pertain specifically to the opinions surfaced around how businesses feel about promoting employee career development and the types of programs commonly available to staff. Here are some notable highlights:
Should employers provide career development programs?
This section of the survey began by asking respondents whether employers have a responsibility to provide career management programs to workers. While nearly three-quarters (71%) of business executives agree that doing so is part of their mandate, variations by region, location and business size show that some believe it more than others.
Figure 1. Would you say that you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree with the following statement? Employers have a responsibility to provide career management programs for their employees. Due to rounding some totals might not equal 100%.
As shown above, respondents from the Prairies (77%) and Ontario (76%) feel much more strongly that it is an employer’s duty to provide career management programs than those in Atlantic Canada (64%). A similar disparity exists between survey participants from Rural settings (63%) compared to those from Major Cities (79%). Respondents from the smallest and the largest firms had the widest range of opinion on the matter. While 60% of the former agree that employers are responsible to provide career management programs for staff, 86% of respondents from the latter share this opinion.
Where are career management programs available and what kinds are out there?
A couple of follow-up questions served to identify what proportion of employers have career management programs as well as what types of initiatives are offered. It is interesting to note that responses to the former closely mirror the opinions raised in the previous question above. Specifically, a markedly higher proportion of business executives from Ontario (43%) and the Prairies (33%) state that their firms provide career management programs than those from Quebec (26%), British Columbia (22%) and Atlantic Canada (20%). The size of the business is, as expected, closely linked to the availability of these programs. While only just over one in 10 (11%) of those from the smallest firms – fewer than 10 employees – assert that their organization has career management programs, the rate is 28% for firms with 10-49 staff, 41% for those with 50-99 employees, 53% at establishments with 100-499 workers, and almost two-thirds (63%) at the largest firms (over 500 staff). Those who reported their firms provide career management programs were asked to identify the types of offerings provided at their workplace. “Individually Tailored Training/Coaching” (29%) is the most popular on a national scale while “Leadership Programs” lag far behind (9%).
Figure 2. What types of career management do you offer? ”Other” not presented.
Although the ranking order is fairly consistent when comparing the data by region, location and business size, a few interesting differences exist. For instance, twice as many firms in Ontario offer “Career Planning/Training/Education” than Quebec (38% vs. 17%). Offering “Mentorship/Apprenticeship Programs” is much more popular in Atlantic Canada than in the Prairies. Of those surveyed from the former, 26% mention that their firm offers these types of programs compared to just 4% from the latter. These programs are also much more popular in Rural settings (28%) compared to Major Cities (16%) and Outside Major Cities (12%). Meanwhile, “Skill Development Programs” are just about three times more likely to be used at the smallest firms (31%) than the largest organizations (11%). Conversely, firms with more than 500 employees are much more likely than those with fewer than 10 staff to provide “Education Reimbursement or Training Encouragement” (16% compared to 4%).
Mario R. Gravelle is The Counselling Foundation of Canada’s Learning & Innovation Analyst. He is responsible for supporting the reception of funding requests as well as managing the Foundation’s grants. Gravelle likewise supports knowledge transfer activities to promote the work accomplished by the organization’s grant recipients. He is completing his doctoral dissertation in history at York University (BA from Concordia University and MA from the University of Ottawa). The Foundation proudly supports CERIC and its programs.
For more detailed findings about the Career Development in the Canadian Workplace: National Business Survey, visit the CERIC website at ceric.ca where you will find the Executive Summary, a Youth Thematic Report, and presentations with all the results as well as breakdowns by region, location and business size.