Canadians are working remotely. Can it succeed?

Millions of Canadians across the country have been working from home for the first time as the pandemic upends the workplace – even the Supreme Court of Canada is going virtual. Will remote work become the new normal, even after pandemic-related restrictions are lifted? 

LinkedIn’s latest edition of the Workforce Confidence Index polled over 2,000 professionals across Canada to find out their current sentiments about the job market, their financial well-being and career outlook. We also got their take on how the new remote work setup is affecting their productivity. A majority – 59% – said they could be effective while working remotely, and 52% said that was also true of their wider industry.

Company size played a role in their view: those working at large enterprise firms of 10,000+ employees were more likely to say they were effective while working from home (68%), compared to those at mid-market companies (62%) and those employed at small businesses (61%). 

Other key findings from our third edition, which is based on a biweekly survey from April 13-19 and April 27 to May 3, include:

  • Canada’s overall Workforce Confidence Index score has risen slightly in the last couple of weeks, climbing to +24 in the most recent analysis from +21 previously, on a scale of -100 to +100. 

In the aggregate, optimism has increased about short-term job security and personal finances, while the view on longer-term (one-year) career impacts has been stable. 

Most of the confidence gains came from respondents director-level and above, while scores among non-manager employees were little changed.

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Those at small businesses saw more of a jump in optimism this round (+28 from +21 previously), as did those at enterprise firms (+33 from +29), while those working at mid-market firms turned slightly more pessimistic (+20, down from +23) as their job security decreased.

  • Active job seekers are more pessimistic about the job market and the prospect of recruiter response than those who aren’t currently in the trenches.

Some 56% of those actively applying for new positions are expecting the number of new jobs available to decrease in the next two weeks, compared to just 45% of those who are open to opportunities but aren’t actively looking. Active job seekers were also more likely to expect responses from employers and recruiters to decrease over that period (42%) and nearly half (48%) were bracing for fewer interviews.

Overall, pessimism about the Canadian jobs market and recruiter response remains high, but appears to be bottoming out.

  • Confidence also varies across job functions.
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Those working in healthcare services, business development and education roles reported the highest confidence scores overall (+33, +28, and +26 respectively), reflecting stronger optimism about their job security, finances and career prospects.

Those in sales (+20), community and social services (+20), and IT (+17) positions had the lowest scores, with IT professionals driven down by concerns about personal finances. Workers in sales roles were also among the most pessimistic about their short-term job seeking expectations.

  • The Canadian workforce remains committed to online learning during the pandemic.

Ninety-one percent of respondents said they planned to maintain or increase their time spent online learning in the next two weeks. 

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But what they’re looking for varies: while active job seekers are mostly looking to advance in their career paths (62% vs 45% of respondents overall) and learn more about their industry (47%), some 41% of respondents are looking to learn something interesting, unrelated to their line of work.

Roughly a third of respondents said they hoped online learning would improve their emotional well-being, while one in five was looking for resources to manage their personal finances.

Source: LinkedIn