PwC Canada has unveiled the Canadian insights from its 2023 Hopes and Fears survey, which took the pulse of 2,000 workers in Canada and nearly 54,000 employees worldwide on the evolving future of work.
Despite facing a softening global economy, ‘The Great Resignation’ trend seems set to continue, with almost one in four (23%) Canadian employees expressing their intention to change employers in the next 12 months, a significant increase from 16% last year.
Among those likely to switch employers, less than half (47%) find their current jobs fulfilling, compared to 57% of those who plan to stay. Additionally, those likely to change employers are also eight percentage points less likely to feel they can truly be themselves at work compared to their counterparts who intend to remain with their current employers (51% vs. 59%).
The current economic concerns have led to a cash-strapped workforce globally, with only 38% of the global workforce having money left over at the end of the month, down from 47% last year. As a result, one in five workers (21%) now have multiple jobs, with 69% doing so out of necessity for additional income. The percentage of workers with multiple jobs is notably higher among Gen Z (30%) and ethnic minorities (28%).
The 26th Global CEO Survey conducted by PwC reveals that almost 40% of top executives believe their organizations may not exist in 10 years. This highlights the urgency for businesses to reinvent themselves to remain viable in the long term, and the importance of understanding how employees fit into these reinvention plans.
In the face of high levels of change, uncertainty, and disruption, Canadian workers are experiencing pressure from various angles. Financial struggles, difficulties in managing heavy workloads, and uncertainty about the skills needed for a changing world are some of the main concerns.
“In a world where CEOs know they need to transform their businesses to succeed, it is important to leverage the benefits of technology, supported by a plan to unlock the skills and talents of all workers. It is in no one’s interest for businesses to chase the same group of skilled workers while the rest of society gets left behind,” says Kathy Parker, Partner, National Workforce of the Future Consulting Leader, PwC Canada. “We must be thoughtful in creating the right environment for employees. It is crucial to offer meaningful work, ways for them to connect in meaningful ways, along with ways to build future-proof skills.”
Financial struggles also impact workers’ ability to adapt to the rise of AI and develop new skills. Those facing financial difficulties are 12 percentage points less likely to actively seek out opportunities for skill development compared to those who can pay their bills comfortably (62% vs. 50%). Furthermore, financially secure workers are more likely to seek feedback at work and use it to improve their performance (57%), whereas those facing financial struggles exhibit a lower rate of seeking feedback for improvement (45%).
Surprisingly, many Canadian respondents seem unaware of the magnitude of the change that AI will bring to the workforce. Less than half of the respondents have a good sense of how the skills their jobs require will change in the next few years.
On a brighter note, skilled workers appear to face the rapidly changing economic and workplace environment with greater confidence.
Younger generations are particularly optimistic about AI’s impact on their careers, with over half (52%) of employees worldwide expecting to see some positive impact of AI on their careers over the next five years. About a third (31%) believe AI will increase their productivity/efficiency at work, and many view it as an opportunity to learn new skills (27%).
Earlier this year, PwC Canada announced plans to invest $200M over the next three years to expand and scale its artificial intelligence (AI) offerings and help clients reimagine their businesses through the power of generative AI. This investment includes upskilling its 9,000 employees on AI tools and capabilities, as well as accelerating STEM talent hiring.
As Canadian workers face financial and workload pressures, and a significant proportion consider changing employers, organizations must invest in understanding and addressing their employees’ views, needs, and concerns to not only attract and retain key talent but also to harness their full range of skills, energy, and attention to help the business thrive.