CAREERS & JOB SKILLS
Is Job Satisfaction Enough?
By Liz Gobin
A new survey from CareerBuilder.ca
reveals that 72 per cent of employees are “satisfied” or “very
satisfied” with their jobs overall. However, 41 per cent report that
they look for new opportunities on a regular basis.
Leaving a job you hate, or even a job
you’re just lukewarm about, is easy to understand, but why mess with a
good thing? Optimistically, this overlap could be evidence that workers
are gaining confidence in the job market.
“As the labour market opens up and new
opportunities arise, workers are beginning to consider their options – 2
in 5 workers regularly look for new opportunities despite many of them
being satisfied,” says Mark Bania, managing director of CareerBuilder
The flip side of the
This may be less welcome news to
employers worried about losing their top talent. In order to understand
how to retain valuable employees, taking a look at what factors drive
worker satisfaction is a good place to start.
Satisfied workers most frequently point
to the people they work with as being a key factor (62 per cent) of
their happiness. Other reasons contributing to high satisfaction
- Salary: 55 per cent
- Good work-life balance: 47 per cent
- Benefits: 42 per cent
- Like the boss: 40 per cent
- Ability to make a difference: 34 per
- Feeling challenged every day: 33 per
- Quick commute: 30 per cent
- Feeling valued/accomplishments are
recognized: 30 per cent
- Flexible schedule or ability to
telecommute: 27 per cent
- Job title: 27 per cent
“Our findings show that workers want jobs
where they not only feel they can make a difference and are recognized
for their accomplishments, but have a healthy work-life balance,” Bania
says. “Implementing programs that meet these desires can go a long way
toward incentivising employees to stay.”
Work-life balance is of high importance
to workers, and for the most part, employers appear to be on the same
page. Seventy-two per cent of workers are “satisfied” or “very
satisfied” with work-life balance, while only 12 per cent are
“dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied.”
The numbers remain fairly positive when
it comes to career advancement opportunities. More than half of
employees (54 per cent) report being “satisfied” or “very satisfied”
with career advancement opportunities at their current employer, 30 per
cent are neither satisfied nor unsatisfied, and 16 per cent are
“dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied.”
What employers – and
employees – can do
It’s possible that ambitious workers may
be happy with their current jobs but may wonder if they could have even
better opportunities for advancement – and a higher salary – if they
were to look for a job elsewhere. Employers hoping to retain their top
talent should encourage their employees to discuss career-pathing
options and even potential lateral moves within the company that may
challenge them in new ways.
At the same time, employees should take
it upon themselves to investigate and understand potential opportunities
within their current organizations as well. Don’t assume your boss knows
your career goals if you haven’t clearly expressed them. Be direct and
assertive. Most employers will willingly work with you to help you
realize your aspirations. After exploring possibilities at your current
employer, if you’re still running into barriers or you’re unhappy with
your chances of promotion, then it may be time to look into options
outside the company.
Asking the Question: Should
I Enroll in a Post-Secondary Program?
By Liz Gobin
In recent decades, attending college
after high school has become practically a no-brainer. However, with
mounting student loan debt and a notably tough job market, many students
and their parents are questioning whether higher education is really
worth the investment. But how do you decide whether college is the best
next step for you?
Ben Feuer, professional educational
consultant with Forster-Thomas Inc., identifies three major points of
consideration. As he puts it: “Whenever I encounter a student who is
considering skipping college, it immediately activates my GAG reflex.
No, not that gag reflex—it’s my little acronym to help students decide
if college is right for them.”
The steps of GAG should be considered
(and prioritized) in order: Grades, Ability to pay, and Goals.
The first thing to consider is your
academic standing. Your GPA and standardized testing scores will heavily
influence what kind of schools and programs you can enroll in, as well
as impact financial costs if you qualify for scholarships.
“If your grades aren’t up to snuff, it
really doesn’t matter that you think you’d be interested in being a
doctor” Feuer says.
Ability to pay
This shouldn’t come as a big surprise,
but college costs a lot of money—enough that you’ll likely be paying for
it years after you’ve graduated. That kind of investment should be made
with careful consideration.
The average tuition in Canada for
full-time undergrads is $5,959 according to Stats Canada 2014, with the
tuition in Ontario projected to surge to $8,756 in 2016-17.
The price tag for a university degree is
significant: when books, living expenses and transportation costs are
added to tuition and other compulsory fees, the cost of a four-year
university education is estimated to reach over $80,000; of that,
residence is estimated at about $31,000. Statistics Canada figures
estimate that students with both public and private debt end up owing an
average of $37,000 by the time they graduate.
University and College loans are real and
that they can cause serious problems down the road if a student is
unable to pay them back.
This doesn’t mean you should disregard
University as an option if money is tight. There are plenty of
scholarships, payment plans and other programs designed to ease the
financial burden tuition can put on students. You may also try to look
at tuition costs at different schools, sometimes you can obtain the same
degree or diploma at a different school for less. However, when
contemplating your next move after high school, the monetary cost of
University or College is well worth considering.
So much attention is focused on how to
convince schools that you’re a good fit for them that it can be easy to
forget that not every type of college may be a good fit for you. Whether
it’s four-year, or technical college that’s a right fit, or going
straight to the workforce while considering your options, you have to
determine what’s the best next step for your future.
Making an informed
“You have to do what’s right for you,”
can be frustrating advice, especially when it’s offered at moments when
you may not know what’s “right for you.” How are you supposed to figure
Of course, doing what’s “right for you”
is a lot easier if you have a general idea of where you want to end up.
“My recommendation is for students to take the time to think about what
it is they want before automatically getting into the college search,
and for parents to respect that time of introspection,” says Stefanie
O’Connell, Millennial finance writer and founder of
thebrokeandbeautifullife.com. “Limiting post-high school choices to the
selection of a major is just that—limiting.
Everyone thrives in a different
environment, and each student should think carefully about his or her
options before committing to any one ‘set’ course. Post-Secondary
education is too expensive to commit to half-heartedly.”
Ready to Negotiate Your Employment Package?
By Liz Gobin
A job offer and the potential salary and
benefits that come with it are something to be excited about. But before
you sign any paperwork, read the fine print and look over the offer.
There’s likely room to negotiate for a better deal than the initial
contract, and there are some steps you can take to boost your employment
package. Here’s how.
Consider roles and
It’s important to engage in the interview
process and learn as much as you can—mainly so you’ll understand your
role and responsibilities. However, it will also help to shed light on
the value the company places on the position. This will empower you in
the negotiation process later.
“Ask to meet with the people [with whom]
you will work, manage and collaborate,” says Katie Donovan, a salary and
career negotiation consultant and owner of Equal Pay Negotiations LLC.
“Departmental structures and organization charts will point to your
place in the organization’s food chain, and indicate the role’s
importance, which will give you leverage. You will also have specifics
to use when researching what the current industry standards are for that
occupation’s average wage.”
Let them make the
While the interview is an important time
to get to know the company, job responsibilities and what your
day-to-day life would look like there, there are some questions better
saved for when the interview process is over. “Many candidates want to
find this out sooner rather than later so [they] bring up compensation,
flexibility and other employment package elements during the interview,”
Donovan says. “It is to your advantage to wait until the offer. It is at
that point the company has fallen in love with you and will engage in
negotiations. Talking about it before you are the best candidate easily
turns you into an also-ran candidate who never gets the offer.”
Find points for
Once you’ve received a job offer, you can
begin to determine whether or not you should accept the position.
Donovan says, “Aim for the perfect employment package and know your
personal walkaway items. You have options no matter how many deal
breakers are in the offer. Address them first as a group of items. Say
something like, ‘I am very excited about the opportunity to work with
you but there are a few items in the offer that are making it difficult
for me to accept it. They are A, B, C and D.’ Then walk through each of
the items with the manager to explain why they are difficult. ‘A, the
pay is below current market value, B, the [paid time off] is less than I
currently have, C, I currently work from home two days a week and would
need to keep that same kind of arrangement, etc…’ Then be quiet and let
the employer figure out what to offer to you next. You will find that
employers are open to getting the right package for employees.”
Have several plans
After the initial salary offer has been
extended, and you’ve countered with the salary or supplementary perks
you want, give the employer time to come back with their offer. You’ll
likely be able to gauge how their decision will go based on their need
to hire you, and the interactions you’ve had with the company up to this
point. While they’re preparing their decision, be ready to prepare
yours. What counteroffers will you accept? What will you do if they
refuse your proposals?
“At the end, if a deal breaker cannot be
negotiated away, say no. Surprisingly, sometimes the employer comes back
with another offer – but do not expect it,” Donovan says. “Truly be
ready to walk away.”
Tips for Good Interview
By Liz Gobin
Knowing how and when to follow up with an
employer after an interview can be a tricky business. Should you send an
email or a handwritten thank-you note? Do you chase them up if you
haven’t heard back after a week? Contact them the wrong way and you can
seem rude. Don’t get in touch and you could miss out on a great
opportunity. Get it right every time with our guide to interview
Always ask about
In order to follow up the right way, you
need to know what the next steps are.
“A good employer will inform you about
the recruitment process. For example: ‘We are seeing three more
candidates and will let you know by next Monday who we will invite for
second interviews.’ This reply gives you a timeframe to work with,” says
career coach Ruth Winden of Careers Enhanced.
Don’t leave the interview without knowing
how you are expected to communicate. If the interviewer doesn’t
volunteer the information, ask for it. “If you are genuinely interested
in the job, say so,” adds Winden. “Then, ask about time frames and next
steps. You need to know where you stand, so these are all legitimate
Remember to say thank
After the interview, it’s good manners to
thank the hiring manager for seeing you. But should you send an email, a
handwritten note, or make a phone call? James Field, senior trainer at
Debrett’s, which runs courses on office etiquette, is firmly in favour
“Thank them for their time and express
how interested you are in the role. If you discussed a specific project
during the interview, and the hiring manger was keen to know more, it’s
acceptable to attach a presentation. Just keep it short,” warns Field.
Picking up the phone is a bad idea. “This
can create awkwardness, and in most cases it is likely that you will not
be able to reach the person who interviewed you via phone,” says Field.
Send a handwritten
If you want to stand out from the crowd,
Winden advises sending a handwritten note.
“A note on quality paper, or even a
personalized card, differentiates you from other candidates,” says
Winden. “An email can get overlooked, whereas a handwritten envelope on
someone’s desk will get attention. I recommend this approach to all my
clients, whatever their industry. It might feel odd or even slightly
cheesy, but it works and people do remember. Who remembers an email?”
If you do decide to send a handwritten
note, post it straight after the interview. Alternatively, take the card
with you and write it before you leave, then ask the receptionist to
forward it on.
When to ask if you got
Under normal circumstances you should
wait at least two weeks after the interview before following up,
according to Field.
If you enquire about timeframes during
the interview, you will have a better idea of when you should expect to
Winden suggests waiting a day or two
after the deadline has passed before reaching out: “Hiring is just one
thing on a busy manager’s long to-do list. Delays are common, often for
reasons job seekers are unaware of. It’s easy to get frustrated and feel
affronted. Be polite, don’t assume anything and find out at what stage
your application is. In the meantime, don’t stop applying for other
Again, it’s best to follow up via email
rather than phoning, which can be seen as intrusive.
What you shouldn’t do
While there will always be stories of
candidates who broke the rules and impressed an employer with their
audacity, dropping into the company’s premises is a particularly high
“There is a fine line between showing
eagerness and coming across as over-enthusiastic. Unless you have a good
reason for being in the building, it is best not to show up uninvited,”
Another no-no is contacting the employer
direct if you have gone through a recruitment agency.
Follow the rules and behave with
professionalism and you will be remembered for the right reasons – and
more likely to get the call back you’ve been waiting for.
6 Tips for Mastering Body
Language During an Interview
By Liz Gobin
You’ve conducted extensive research on
the company. You’ve practiced answering potential questions and come up
with a thoughtful list of your own. You’ve picked out the perfect “I
want this job” outfit. There should be nothing standing in the way of
having a successful interview. Right? Wrong.
While what you say during an interview is
important, your nonverbal cues can play just as big of a role in whether
or not you move forward. According to a new CareerBuilder.ca survey, 51
per cent of employers say they know within the first five minutes of an
interview if a candidate is a good fit for a position. Therefore, body
language that makes you appear unenthusiastic or uncomfortable can cause
the employer to lose interest before you’ve even had a chance to prove
yourself as a candidate.
When hiring managers were asked to
identify the biggest body language mistakes jobseekers make, failing to
make eye contact (72 per cent) and failing to smile (44 per cent) topped
the list. Other top responses include:
To rid your interview of distractions and
ensure the employer is focused on your experience and skills only, here
are six tips for mastering body language:
Practice with an
audience. If you were presenting to a group of people, you’d
most likely practice your presentation beforehand, so why wouldn’t you
rehearse prior to an interview? Mark Bania, managing director of
CareerBuilder Canada, recommends practicing your interview skills ahead
of time with friends or family so they can provide feedback on nonverbal
cues such as your eye contact, posture and facial expressions. If you’re
aware you’re making mistakes, you’ll be more likely to avoid them during
the actual interview.
Play it back.
Bania also suggests taking the practice session a step further by
recording yourself answering common interview questions. Perhaps you
never realized that you relied so heavily on your hands to make points,
or you tend to cross your arms when you’re nervous about answering a
question. By watching yourself, you’ll quickly catch any of these
clothing. You might have a suit that looks professional, but
if you’re uncomfortable in it, you’ll end up looking anything but. Make
sure you pick an outfit that fits well and doesn’t itch or rub your
skin, to avoid fidgeting with it throughout the interview. Also keep
your hairstyle in mind; if you have longer hair and are prone to playing
with it, slick it back or put it in a ponytail so it won’t be a
Bania suggests researching the company beforehand and coming prepared
with questions for the interviewer. If you haven’t done your homework,
you’ll be more prone to nervousness, which can quickly cause your body
language to suffer. By being prepared, it also lets employers know
you’re just as interested in them as they are in you.
Be sensitive of
personal space. Sure, leaning forward when listening can give
the impression that you’re engaged in the conversation, but be mindful
of just how close you get to the interviewer. Invading personal space
could make the hiring manager feel uncomfortable and take the focus away
from what really matters.
Don’t forget to
breathe. Good breathing techniques can help calm nerves and
relax your body. By taking a few deep breaths before the interview, and
being aware of your breathing during the conversation, Bania says it can
help relieve some of the anxiety that leads to fidgeting or other
6 Jobs for Workers with
By Liz Gobin
When it comes to personality types,
introverts may be one of the most misunderstood. Their quiet disposition
can sometimes be mistaken for a lack of enthusiasm, a lack of interest
or even rudeness.
In reality, introverts get as excited as
anyone about things that interest them – they just have different ways
of showing it. Ultimately the biggest factor in finding the ideal job
for anyone – introvert or extrovert – should be passion.
That said, some jobs do lend themselves
more readily to introverted personalities. Here are six to consider:
Writers and authors
By its very nature, writing is a solitary
task. Whether generating advertising copy in a downtown high rise or
crafting a novel in an empty mountain hotel, writers require plenty of
alone time to organize their thoughts and ideas on the page. One of the
beauties of writing is that you can do it anywhere, and with the ease of
electronic communication, writers often enjoy a high degree of control
over how much social interaction they get day-to-day.
*Pay: $58,406 average annual
If you’re an introvert with a passion for
art or history, it doesn’t get much better than being an archivist.
Archivists appraise, edit and maintain permanent records and
historically valuable documents. They typically work in museums,
colleges and universities and similar institutions; in other words, big,
quiet, private rooms full of interesting reading material. What’s not to
*Pay: $51,916 average annual
Introverts may not always have much to
say, but they typically make for great listeners. And while introverts
may actively avoid getting involved in social drama, that doesn’t mean
they don’t find it interesting. Court reporters literally get a front
row seat at trials, depositions, administrative hearings and other legal
*Pay: $44,907 average annual
One might reasonably assume that everyone
who works in show business is extroverted, but that’s far from the case.
Film and video editors work independently or in small groups. They are a
crucial element to any production – from major blockbusters to the local
news – without being in the spotlight.
*Pay: $53,248 average annual
Postal service mail
Just because you enjoy keeping to
yourself and limited social interaction doesn’t mean you have to be
physically hidden away from the outside world. Mail carriers spend the
bulk of their day out and about while still working on their own.
*Pay: $68,452 average annual
Much like writing, creating and managing
a website requires a lot of independent work. Web developers typically
meet with their clients or company early on in the process to go over
goals and expectations, but apart from big-picture guidelines, Web
developers enjoy the type of autonomy that many introverts crave.
*Pay: $53,040 average annual
* Canadian Job information,
including pay, from Economic Modeling Specialists Intl., a CareerBuilder