Work, work, work!

Check this out:

Survey says grads prize balance, ethics over pay

Canada’s newest college grads prize work/life balance over all other benefits, according to a new survey of university students born between 1979 and 2001. The flexible work environment they covet includes a casual environment, flexible hours, incentives for things like better maternity leave and appealing locations.

After work/life balance, Millennials (as they are called) said they wanted to work for a socially responsible, industry leader with high ethical standards, according to Universum’s survey of 3,465 students from 27 Canadian institutions.

“[T]he millennium generation is a lot less interested in financial stability and a lot more interested in the importance of companies that have high ethical standards, where they have an opportunity to contribute to society, which are things that were never that important before,” Rachele Ferri, a spokesperson for Universum, told the Winnipeg Free Press.

Whereas salary is the most important compensation issue for undergrad students in Canada, health care occupies that spot for American students. Still work/life balance is pre-eminent for job seekers in both countries, Ferri says.

Canadian students also indicated they would most like to work in Toronto (29%), Montreal (18%), and Vancouver (15%).

This is Universum’s first survey of Canadian students. The company does similar surveys in 29 other countries, which cover 160,000 students from 800 academic institutions.

Kids these days, huh? They want a good work/life balance. They are noble – ethics and social responsibility. And they just wanna have fund.

Cripes, I feel old. When I got my first real job after graduating, incidentally for the NB Department of Economic Development, I worked my arse off – 60-70 hours a week. I took it all in. I wanted to earn my keep. I was fascinated. I learned everything. When I was 23 years old, a VP of UPS told me he slept with the proposal I had written for them under his pillow (proposal to attract them to NB).

Work/life balance? At 22?

I weep for the future.

Oh, by the way, the point of this post. Canadian students also indicated they would most like to work in Toronto (29%), Montreal (18%), and Vancouver (15%).

Kids want to get to the big city. Young families want out (at least some). Check your targets, when looking at future labour market needs. Instead of trying to force new local grads to stay through coercion (recent NS debate), we should be more aggressively targeting kids post-sowing-their-wild-oats phase. And maybe after they’ve had a little real world experience.

Just a thought.

Forgive the rant from an old fart.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to Work, work, work!

  1. scott says:

    He slept with your proposal? Man, you’re good David. lol

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think age has anything to do with it. People say they want a life outside of work and you’re surprised?? THAT makes you weep for the future?

    I have nothing but sympathy for anybody who has to work 60-70 hours at any age. Who the hell wants to do that? Imagine, wanting to spend time with friends and family, enjoying life, learning, seeing the world, trying some hobbies, bettering the community, even just relaxing!

    That’s like something from the 1800’s. That’s the ‘two solitudes’ thing I was talking about at Alec’s blog. I was reading an article at by some good protestant who talked about “how happy the acadians and natives are even though they have nothing”. The writer talked about how ‘lazy’ they were, saying that they seldom work longer than absolutely necessary.

    Acadians are still well known for that, in fact one of the big motivations of the protestant revolution was the fact that catholics had an all saints day practically once a week. Calvinism had a lot of support from the elites, because the religion was essentially ‘work work work’.

    Maybe that’s New Brunswick’s problem, there just aren’t enough of those ‘protestant work ethicers’.

    This is just a difference of opinion I know, but that news makes me happier than any news I’ve heard lately. I gotta say, I never thought I’d see somebody surprised that young people want a decent life and don’t just want to be tools of some company or government.

    It’s nice to know that some people have their priorities in line-family first-not Irving or McCain.

  3. David Campbell says:

    I’ll bet a nickel you’re a ‘Millennial’. It has nothing to do with ‘life outside of work’ and more to do with this sense of entitlement that many young people have today. I was working at 10 – with a paper route and then worked all through school scrubbing toilets, teaching computers and eventually as a graduate assistant. As I write this I realize how corny it sounds but I continue…

    There was a time that young workers wanted to prove themselves. You can work your way into work-life balance as you get a life (family, etc.). A 22 year old’s idea of work-life balance is, well I have no friggin’ idea. No matter how many insults are lobbed at this corner, I will still maintain that young guys/gals who don’t come out of school thinking the world owes them something will go farther than the those that do.

  4. Cooker Boy says:

    I was sweeping floors at a engine shop at 10 so I could buy hockey cards. BTW, my parents were very well off but reinforced in me the value of hard work. I’m 27 and have leaped ahead many of my colleagues at work because of my work ethic. It’s the best gift my parents ever gave me.

  5. Cooker Boy says:

    Speaking of the NS debate… Did you see the TJ article on Tuesday, me thinks, about NBCC not wanting to make more space for trades because the students will leave for Alberta?

    I beleive this attitude is negative towards those who want to learn a trade and work. What kind of mixed message does this send to the youth? We want you off poggy, but we aren’t going to let you get educated for fear you may leave the province for work elsewhere… If true, we are truly becoming a supressed society.

    The alternative is to what? Place them in a burger place where they will hate everyday? Come on people, they may leave in the short term but almost everyone I know would come back in a heartbeat if their family had viable employment opportunities!

    My blood boils at the thought of the long term affect this would have.

  6. Anonymous says:

    That’s the ‘protestant work ethic’ in a nutshell. That isn’t an insult, no more than ‘millenialist’ is. Different strokes for different folks.

    The bone of contention, as it were, comes down in characterizing others. If you wrote a big blog about your work ethic nobody would really care, but now you’re slinging arrows at others, which makes it a different ballgame.

    First, in what way is wanting ‘balance’ in ones life considered ‘a sense of entitlement’? Nobody said they wanted to sit on their asses and watch TV all day and have a nice cheque sent to their house.

    All it says is they simply want to work enough to provide the basics, and that’s it. All it said was they wanted to work for the companies that wanted to better their communities and had an ethical backbone. Would you prefer people said “I want to work for a nasty ass company that doesn’t give a crap about the community they are in and haven’t got an ethical bone in their body”

    What a horrible thing to even contemplate! The other part is that they want decent maternity leave to provide for their families and don’t want to spend any more time at the office than is necessary.

    If you had to work that much, then that’s too bad. Your friends and family probably missed you. If you had no life, well, don’t throw stones at people who actually do.

    Keep in mind that that is a ‘wish list’, those poor misguided fools are going to find out soon enough just how lofty those little aims actually are. They’ll be lucky to get even one of them.

    In case people haven’t been reading the papers, kids are working far harder now than ever. Reports in the paper from a fast food representative has a spokesman saying that they literally could not exist without them. I had a paper route as well, it wasn’t particularly taxing, and what it taught me is just how little Irving cares for the people actually making sure the paper gets to people’s doors. Whens the last time you ever heard of a ‘newspaper carriers union’. Kids can work-but they cant form a union until they are 18.

    As for work, I did plenty of it, that’s not the point. The survey simply reflects their priorities, not what they actually will do. Anybody that thinks new graduates, particularly in NB, are going to sit on their asses and collect…what? instead of making ends meet hasn’t spent much time among people.

    The ‘age’ thing really shows when people start talking like “whan I was a yung un we had to walk through six feet of snow up hill to get to school, and six feet up hill to get back home…you youngsters just haven’t suffered enough’.

    There are jobs like that out there, they are just hard to come by, particularly in New Brunswick. You’ve got a province run by two scottish families who expect the exact same thing from their workers as the posts above. Mind you they have a heck of a lot easier jobs than their workers do.

    The only thing that would make me happier than that post would be to discover that those kids would actually find jobs like that-but fat chance. And no I’m not a millenialist, I’m about the same age as you grandpa!:)

  7. Anonymous says:

    I did forget to mention a study done in the early nineties when the liberals first took power. They interviewed hundreds of thousands of canadians to see how they felt about their work. Even at that time they were over worked (we’re now number two in the industrial world behind the US in hours logged) and were not happy.

    The committee came up with a recommendation for ‘job sharing’ which was recommended even by OECD studies because Canada’s unemployment was so high and because at the time there was a significant social safety net.

    It would have let companies hire more people and provide more leave, with government picking up a percentage of the training and administration. Since the people could still afford the basics of survival it was widely lauded.

    Of course then Paul Martin took over and the chant became deficit reduction. We simply ‘couldn’t afford it’. Now, there is no deficit so thats not a problem, so we see corporate canada switching to the conservatives who are supposedly ‘against new programs’-at least ones that help people.

  8. Cooker Boy says:

    You highlight some good points Anonymous.. It is well known that most individuals coming out of University tend to lean more towards the socialist side of the coin but transition to the free market enterprising view later when they have a family to feed.

    I never considered the protestant work worldview before. It has merit, however I am Catholic. I have the Cooker work ethic… 😉

  9. Anonymous says:

    Those were generalities, catholic americans for example have very different ideas about work than irish catholics. And of course anybody can join the catholic religion anytime.

    However, that’s not really ‘socialism’, wanting to work for a decent company and not work all the time. 9-5 is pretty much what should be expected. In fact, it’s rarely discussed but the laziest people in the country are the richest. Meetings aren’t particularly taxing, and senior accountants, like senior lawyers, spend more time on the golf course than at work. Thats because unlike the rest of us, their ‘hard work’ earlier is rewarded with more leisure and money later.

    Most blue collar workers work as hard as young lawyers and accountants, they just don’t get the same perks later. I know this for a fact, although readers have to take my word for it, but I know a lot of secretaries at the large accounting firms.

    That’s pretty far from socialism, if that was the case then AIMS asking for government handouts for the Halifax port would be socialism. Reductions on taxes and cleaning up after corporations when they move out of an area would be socialism.

    In this case, the only difference is that it actually benefits the people directly. That doesn’t make it socialism any more than Irving getting a tax break on his LNG terminal.

    The above post is quite illogical though, as we see from the study that it is the exact opposite. That it is new graduates who are thinking about ‘feeding that family’. It isn’t the ‘free market system’ that provides the benefit, it is maternity leave and being able to spend time with the family.

    This is becoming increasingly true in New Brunswick, where we’ve seen just about every industry left to private vices do anything BUT ‘feed families’. THe only job growth is in the public sector, and even information technology is heavily reliant on public contracts.

    So if the public is spending so many resources to feed families, and private enterprises none, it seems odd to gravitate to the position of the ‘free market’ if you’ve got a family to feed.

  10. Cooker Boy says:


    1. political system of communal ownership: a political theory or system in which the means of production and distribution are controlled by the people and operated according to equity and fairness rather than market principles

    2. movement based on socialism: a political movement based on principles of socialism, typically advocating an end to private property and to the exploitation of workers


    Need I say more?

  11. Anonymous says:

    No, that just about covers it. I don’t remember anybody saying that these new students wanted to dismantle Irvings and run all the gas stations, refineries, or any other company communally.

    There was no mention whatsoever about the means of production, only that the students wanted a balance in their work life so they didn’t have to work all the time and that the companies they worked for were decent companies. I may be missing something but I didn’t see anything about socialism in there.

    Our government is not a socialist one, so even working for a government office or university-which provides generous maternity leave, isn’t socialism. That would make EVERY government a socialist one.

  12. Cooker Boy says:

    I didn’t explain myself correctly. The main values of ethics and moral industry leadership demonstrates clearly their lean towards socialist values, not communism. In other words, they want business to do what’s best for the community. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but they will quickly realize that it is not a sustainable economic model when your orgs are completely focused on what their neighbors think if they are competing in a global economy.

    If you still disagree, I ask you to look at the big 3 parties in Canada. The paries that look more towards increased mat leave or pay equity are the socialist based NDP and the left leaning Liberals. Most University students are NDP voters followed by Liberals. It’s a fact.