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Many Canadian Workers
Face a Growth Gap:
ADP Canada Poll

Four out of ten working Canadians would leave and take a pay cut for better professional development opportunities elsewhere

Toronto, March 15, 2017 - Four out of ten (40%) working Canadians face a “Growth Gap,” saying that their company rarely or never provides them with career development support. Almost equal numbers say they would leave and take a pay cut from another employer that offered better professional development opportunities. These are among the findings of the latest ADP Sentiment Survey, a research series that identifies Canadian workplace trends.

Among the 39 per cent who would leave and take a pay cut, almost one-quarter (23%) said they would take five per cent less, and more than one in ten (12%) said they would take a 10 per cent salary decrease. Smaller numbers would settle for up to, or more than 15 per cent less pay (4% and 1% respectively).

When asked to explain the cause of their “Growth Gap” at work, the most common reason, cited by one-third of employed Canadians (33%), is that their company doesn’t offer this type of support, which typically includes skills development programs, technical training, career mapping or mentoring. Almost two out of ten (19%) say they haven’t asked for this type of support, while 14% feel they aren’t senior enough to receive it. Close to one in ten (9%) say their boss doesn’t have time to address their needs in this respect.

“Our latest ADP Sentiment Survey reveals that Canadian workers face a troubling Growth Gap, and their employers are ultimately the ones that will pay the price,” says Sooky Lee, General Manager, Human Resources Business Process Outsourcing at ADP Canada. “The paradox of a Growth Gap is that while many employers say they need workers to be increasingly adaptable to new tasks and responsibilities, many workers are saying they lack the development support to deliver on these expectations.”

ADP Sentiment Survey

The ADP survey identifies varying sentiments towards “Growth Gap” that can be grouped into three categories:

The Ready: Almost two-thirds (65%) of workers are ready to do professional development but feel their company is selling them short, agreeing or strongly agreeing their company should do better. According to Lee, employers should recognize that employees who express a desire and readiness for development support are typically engaged and eager to contribute. She warns that if you don’t support their advancement within the current organization, they’ll go elsewhere – even for less pay.

The Resigned: Over half of workers (53%) agree or strongly agree that professional development would be nice, but they’re resigned to the fact that they probably won’t get it from their employer. Lee says this group often incudes “diamonds in the rough” – potential stars who are being overlooked. These employees may not have the confidence to ask for career support, or they may not be at a level within the organization where they have much say in these matters.

The Relaxed: Two in ten (21%) working Canadians show a laid back attitude, and are inclined to agree that professional development support isn’t that important and “it’s just a job.”

“Whether the under-developed employees in your organization are ready, resigned or relaxed, this study should be a wake-up call for any employer that cares about employee retention and productivity,” says Lee. A previous ADP Sentiment Survey revealed that almost half of the Canadian workforce (49%) admit to being less productive than they could be, and among this group, 10 per cent blame this on a lack of training 1.

Lee has three tips for employers who may not be aware they’re creating a “Growth Gap” for their employees:

  1. Think ahead to the skills you’ll need from your team: Employers should compare the skills their workforce has now, with those they’ll need in the next three to five years. Lee says a “Growth Gap” is hard to overcome and takes time, which is why employers need to pause regularly and check their team’s skills inventory.

  2. Make training and development the norm, not the exception: Training and development shouldn’t be viewed as onerous, disruptive or expensive, says Lee. According to the Evolution of Work report, an international workplace study by the ADP Research Institute, knowledge and self-management are among the key needs of today’s workers, and there is a growing desire by workers to use technology to learn anything, anytime, anywhere. “Not only are online training programs readily available, but in most cases they are affordable, and in some cases, they’re completely free,” says Lee. “A simple place to start is to look at some of the massive open online courses (MOOCs).

  3. Empower management so they can empower employees: Some workers naturally want to learn new skills, while others need a nudge — but in all cases, employees need employers that can devote resources to help them grow and develop, says Lee. “Many workers say their employer just doesn’t have time to devote to employee development, and sadly, they’re right.” Outsourced solutions such as ADP Workforce Now® Comprehensive Services can provide access to on-demand learning resources as well as automating timeconsuming tasks such as payroll and benefits administration — leaving more time for HR managers to create professional development programs and resources.

Survey methodology

A survey of 828 working Canadians was completed online between January 30 and February 2, 2017, using Leger’s online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-4.4%, 19 times out of 20.

About ADP Canada

ADP Canada gives organizations of every size the tools to help their people thrive. From basic payroll to complex people management systems and analytics, we help business leaders make better decisions. Our clients trust ADP to provide strategic insights and expertise to build and inspire the workforce they need. Visit us at or follow us on Twitter @ADP_CDA.

For more information or to arrange an interview with an ADP spokesperson about the survey:

Eric McLean
Environics Communications

Fahd Pasha
Environics Communications

1 ADP Canada Sentiment Survey, November 2016

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