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New Labour Day Poll of White Collar and Grey Collar Workers in Canada: Happy with Work and Life. Not So Happy with Direction of the Country.

/EIN News/ -- Nearly 90% Believe Their Life is Heading in Right Direction, but Almost Half Say Country is Heading in Wrong Direction

Affordability of Daily Life, Health Care, and Economy Top Concerns

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TORONTO, Aug. 28, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new poll released today by The Harris Poll, commissioned by Express Employment Professionals, provides an in-depth look at the state of white collar and grey collar workers in Canada. The poll found that the vast majority of Canadian white collar and grey collar workers are very happy and optimistic about their work and personal lives. However, this positivity has not translated into optimism about the state of the country or the economy, with almost half saying the country is heading in the wrong direction and more than half saying the economy is weak.

The new national online survey of 500 white collar workers (defined as adults who work in an office, cubicle, or other administrative setting) and 507 grey collar workers (defined as adults whose work is neither primarily in an office or administrative setting nor primarily manual labour, such as a nurse or flight attendant) offers a detailed look at the background and attitudes of workers in many different industries in Canada.

“As we head into Labour Day 2019, it’s clear white and grey collar workers are optimistic, satisfied and secure in their jobs,” said Express CEO Bill Stoller. “That said, they are concerned and anxious about many issues including affordability and the direction of the country. They are happy at home, but not quite so happy with current political trends.”

Satisfied with — and feel very secure in — their jobs

White and grey collar workers have a very high rate of job satisfaction.
More than 4 in 5 white collar workers (82%) and grey collar workers (84%) say they are satisfied with their job, with a quarter (26% of white collar and 27% of grey collar workers) saying “very satisfied.” Even more say they are proud of the work they do (83% of white collar and 88% of grey collar workers).

Additionally, 61% of white collar and 68% of grey collar workers say they like their job, and 96% of white collar and 97% of grey collar workers had something positive to say about it, including:

  • They make a good living wage (51% white collar, 44% grey collar)
  • It is not dangerous (50% white collar, 35% grey collar)
  • They have flexible hours (45% white collar, 35% grey collar)
  • They like their boss (38% white collar, 36% grey collar)
  • They are challenged by the work (37% white collar, 41% grey collar)
  • They are able to help others/have a sense of purpose (37% white collar, 54% grey collar) 

White and grey collar workers feel very secure in their employment.  
Canada’s white and grey collar workers also feel secure in their jobs, with very few worried they may lose their job in the future (16% of white collar and 18% of grey collar workers). In addition, when thinking about their current workplace, a remarkable 89% of white collar workers and 94% of grey collar workers are not worried about being replaced by automation.

They believe their jobs provide a good living for their family.
A large majority, 67% of white collar and 70% of grey collar workers, agree there is a good career path in their line of work. Even more, 76% of white collar and 72% of grey collar workers, say that their job provides a good living to financially support their family.

Optimistic about their lives

Ninety (90) percent of white collar workers and 87% of grey collar workers believe their life is heading in the right direction.

Most white collar and grey collar workers are satisfied with their lifestyle.

  • 67% of both white collar and grey collar workers are satisfied with their lifestyle
  • 83% of white collar and 82% of grey collar workers say they can make ends meet
  • 67% of white collar and 65% of grey collar workers believe their children will have a better future than they will

A plurality believes they are better off now than they were five years ago.

  • 38% of both white collar and grey collar workers believe they are better off now than they were five years ago
  • 38% of white collar and 36% of grey collar workers believe things are about the same
  • 24% of white collar and 26% of grey collar workers believe that they are worse off

White and grey collar workers are very optimistic about their future.
Just over three in four workers say they are optimistic about their future (78% of white collar and 77% of grey collar workers).

But white collar and grey collar workers do have economic anxiety.
Although they are very optimistic, these workers do have economic anxiety. Even though the vast majority say they can make ends meet, 40% of white collar and almost half (47%) of grey collar workers say making ends meet is difficult. 

Political Views

Despite being happy in their professional lives and optimistic in their personal lives, white collar and grey collar workers are concerned and anxious about many issues. When asked which issues they were most worried about, their top concerns were:

  WHITE COLLAR GREY COLLAR
Affordability of Daily Living 88% 87%
Economy 78% 82%
Health Care 77% 83%
Climate Change/Carbon Tax 70% 74%
Government Corruption 65% 62%
Energy Policy 58% 63%
Immigration 58% 59%


Retirement is another issue that is of great concern to white and grey collar workers and less than half say they are currently setting aside money for their retirement.

  • 69% of both white and grey collar workers are worried about saving enough for retirement
  • Only 45% of both white and grey collar workers are currently setting aside money for retirement   

Nearly half of white and grey collar workers disapprove of the Prime Minister’s job performance.

  • 46% of white collar and 49% of grey collar workers disapprove of the job that the prime minister is doing, with 26% of white collar and 27% of grey collar workers mostly disapproving
  • 31% of white collar and 24% of grey collar workers neither approve nor disapprove
  • 23% of white collar and 26% of grey collar workers approve, with 6% of white collar and 5% of grey collar mostly approving

Both white and grey collar workers are split when it comes to whether or not the country is heading in the right direction.

  • 56% of both white and grey collar workers believe the country is heading in the right direction
  • 44% of both white and grey collar workers believe the country is on the wrong track

A similar percentage believe their province is heading in the right direction.

  • 56% of white collar and 52% of grey collar workers believe their province is heading in the right direction
  • 44% of white collar and 48% of grey collar workers believe their province is on the wrong track  

In contrast, almost 3 in 4 believe their local community is headed in the right direction.

  • 75% of white collar and 70% of grey collar workers believe their local community is heading in the right direction
  • 25% of white collar and 30% of grey collar workers believe their local community is on the wrong track

A slight majority of both white and grey collar workers believe the Canadian economy is weak

  • 55% of white collar and 56% of grey collar workers describe the Canadian economy as weak
  • 45% of white collar and 44% of grey collar workers describe the Canadian economy as strong

A plurality of both white and grey collar workers believe the Canadian economy will be about the same in the next five years.

  • 43% of white collar and 45% of grey collar workers believe the Canadian economy will be about the same as it is now in five years
  • 32% of white collar and 33% of grey collar workers believe the Canadian economy will be stronger in five years
  • 24% of white collar and 21% of grey collar workers believe the Canadian economy will be weaker in five years

A small plurality believe that no political party does a good job of helping Canadians in their line of work.

  • 28% of white collar and 33% of grey collar workers believe no party does a good job
  • 27% of white collar and 22% of grey collar workers believe the Conservative Party does the best job
  • 26% of white collar and 22% of grey collar workers believe the Liberal Party does the best job
  • 13% of white collar and 14% of grey collar workers believe the New Democratic Party does the best job
  • 3% of white collar and 4% of grey collar workers believe the Green Party does the best job     

White and grey collar workers have diverse political affiliations. When asked who they are most likely to support in the upcoming federal election:

  • 33% of white collar and 28% of grey collar workers say Liberal Party
  • 32% of white collar are 27% of grey collar workers say the Conservative Party
  • 13% of white collar and 13% of grey collar workers say the New Democratic Party
  • 7% of white collar and 9% of grey collar workers say the Green Party
  • 9% of white collar and 13% of grey collar workers say no political party
  • Women in both white collar and grey collar jobs are more likely than men in their respective line of work to say they do not support any political party and men are more likely to support the Conservative Party than women in their respective line of work.

Who Are Canada’s White and Grey Collar Workers?

Just over half of Canadian white collar (56%) and grey collar workers (53%) consider themselves middle class, while 20% of both white collar and grey collar workers consider themselves upper middle class, and 15% of white collar and 17% of grey collar workers consider themselves lower middle class.

The majority of white collar workers are salaried (65%), with 34% paid hourly. The opposite is true for grey collar workers, with the majority being paid hourly (55%) and 43% salaried. Women in both white and grey collar professions are more likely than men in their respective line of work to be paid hourly than salaried.

Most are employed full-time (88% of white collar and 78% of grey collar workers), with 11% of white collar and 20% of grey collar workers employed part-time and 1% of white collar and 2% of grey collar workers self-employed.

  • 16% of white and 24% of grey collar workers had a household income of up to $49,999 last year
  • 36% of white and 39% of grey collar workers had a household income of between $50,000 to $99,999 last year
  • 28% of white and 23% of grey collar workers had a household income of between $100,000 to $149,000 last year
  • 19% of white and 13% of grey collar workers had a household income of $150,000 or more last year

A plurality of white collar (31%) and 23% of grey collar workers have a bachelor’s degree, 18% of white collar and 12% of grey collar workers have a post-graduate degree, 20% of white collar and 29% of grey collar workers have a degree from a community college, and 11% of white collar and 10% of grey collar workers have a university certificate or diploma but not a bachelor’s degree.

“This poll sheds light on the things employees look for and value at their place of work—being challenged by their work, flexible work hours, and a sense of purpose are all things employers who want to retain their talent should help ensure are part of the company’s culture,” Stoller said. “A robust economy requires a strong and motivated workforce, and this poll shows that Canada’s economy has just that and is in a position to succeed.”

Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted online within Canada by The Harris Poll on behalf of Express Employment Professionals between June 18 and July 8, 2019 among 500 Canadian white collar workers (defined as adults ages 18+ who are employed full-time, part-time, or self-employed and works in an office, cubicle, or other administrative setting) and 507 grey collar workers (defined as adults ages 18+ who are employed full-time, part-time, or self-employed and works in one of the following professions: airline pilot or flight attendant, agribusiness professional (e.g., farmer, land manager), certified/licensed salesperson (e.g., real estate broker, stockbroker, insurance broker), clergy (e.g., minister, rabbi, imam), child care (e.g., nanny, au pair), engineer (e.g., mechanical, electrical, avionics, civil), firefighter, funeral director/technician, food preparation and catering (e.g., chef, sous chef), high-technology technician (e.g., lab technician, helpdesk technician, IT professional, medical equipment repair, solar panel installer), non-physician healthcare professional (e.g., nurse, emergency medical services personnel, physician’s assistant), paralegal, police officer, protective services, military, security or civil defense, professional musician/artist, school administrator, teacher, educator, or other academic field worker, or typist/stenographer). Results also were compared to a study conducted by The Harris Poll between July 9 and 23, 2018 among 520 blue collar workers in Canada who are employed full-time, part-time, or self-employed; performs work that requires manual labor; and works in one of the following industries: construction, manufacturing, transportation & warehousing, automotive services, maintenance, agriculture/ forestry/ fishing/hunting, or utilities.

Figures are weighted where necessary by age by gender, race/ethnicity, region, education, income, marital status, employment, household size, and propensity to be online to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

If you would like to arrange for an interview to discuss this topic, please contact Ana Curic at (613) 858-2622 or email ana@mapleleafstrategies.com.

About Bill Stoller
William H. "Bill" Stoller is chairman and chief executive officer of Express Employment Professionals. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the international staffing company has more than 800 franchises in the U.S., Canada and South Africa. Since its inception, Express has put more than 7.7 million people to work worldwide.

About Express Employment Professionals
Express Employment Professionals puts people to work. It generated $3.56 billion in sales and employed a record 566,000 people in 2018. Its long-term goal is to put a million people to work annually. For more information, visit ExpressPros.com

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/a260d861-1370-4ddf-ad94-ee63b1e2ea14

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New Labour Day Poll: The State of White Collar and Grey Collar Workers in Canada

New Labour Day Poll: The State of White Collar and Grey Collar Workers in Canada
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