Study shows Canadian women want flexibility in the workplace

OTTAWA, Jan. 24, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- It is clear the pandemic has significantly changed the way Canadians view work and the workplace, according to a new study done by Abacus Data on behalf of The Honest Talk.

A survey of more than 1,300 working adults in Canada reveals that 69% of respondents feel their work life has changed in some way as a result of the pandemic. Nearly half say that change is for the better.

When it comes to current employment and future opportunities, flexibility is key, especially for women.

  • When searching for a job, 72% of female respondents said work-from-home flexibility is extremely or quite important.
  • If given the choice, women would choose to work from home 65% of the time, 13 points higher on average than men.
  • The gender gap holds for parents with younger kids under 15. Moms want to spend 64% of the time working from home compared with 51% among dads.
  • On average, Canadians want to work at home 58% of the time.

“The pandemic forced millions of Canadians to change where and how they work. For most, especially women, a more flexible work life is welcomed and preferred,” said Abacus Data Chair and CEO David Coletto, the lead researcher on the study. “Employers who want to recruit and retain women must recognize that flexibility is now table stakes.”

Asked to choose between money and several other factors, being able to work from home had the biggest pull. 

  • 36% of respondents would give up more money if it meant they could work from home as much as they like. Among women, this rises to 42%, 10 points higher than among men.

“These statistics back up what we’ve been saying, which is that building flexibility into our work-life model is critical for keeping women in the workforce,” said Catherine Clark, co-founder of The Honest Talk.

“Simply going back to the way things were done pre-pandemic is not going to be an option for many workplaces,” adds Jennifer Stewart, co-founder of The Honest Talk. “It’s important that leaders understand what employees and potential candidates value in a job as they make these critical decisions around a future workplace.”

As the pandemic forced changes to almost every aspect of workplace design, Canadians welcomed many of these shifts with open arms because they made lives better overall, not just working life.

  • Half (48%) of those who say their life at work has changed because of the pandemic report those changes being positive. Only a minority (19%) say their work-life is worse off.
  • 51% say the pandemic has had a positive effect on their work-life balance.
  • 54% say it has caused positive changes in the amount of free time they have.
  • 42% say it has had a positive influence on the relationship between work and their mental health.

You can review the survey results here:

Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted with 1,313 working Canadian adults from January 12 to 16, 2023. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.8%, 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population of working adults according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

Abacus Data follows the CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements that can be found here:

The survey was sponsored by The Honest Talk.



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