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Written by Kieran Delamont, Associate Editor, London Inc.


The Great Resignation 2.0

A new report suggests more than seven in 10 Canadian workers want to quit their jobs within a year

THE CANADIAN JOB market could see a lot of upheaval in the next year or two, suggests a new report from Hays Canada. Why? Layoffs have probably peaked, interest rate cuts are incoming and Canadian workers are more likely to quit than they have ever been.


Hays’ new data found that the number of workers who want to leave their jobs has spiked to 71 per cent, up 10 points from last year, while another seven per cent said they would consider leaving when the economy stabilizes. By Hays’ calculations, this means that 78 per cent of workers are potential leavers.


“As our data reveals what appears to be an end to the layoffs…job opportunities in 2024 could be about to rise, giving these employees ample opportunity to make the move,” Hays Canada reported.


Experts suggest companies will have to be wary about this, as we potentially move back into a period where workers have more leverage just as quickly as we seemed to exit it in 2023.


“Many companies have put raises on hold as they contend with the same economic pressures squeezing employees,” wrote Victoria Wells in the Financial Post. “Fortunately for employers, there’s still time to prepare for the expected rise in vacancies and job switching.”


The likely result of this is that much of the focus this year in conversations around the workforce will be on pay increases. “There’s a noticeable rise in dissatisfaction levels among employees, especially concerning salary, job roles and benefits,” the Hays report reads.


An earlier report from Robert Half suggests that as many as eight in 10 Canadian workers are plotting to change jobs this year in pursuit of better pay. Everything’s in a bit of a holding pattern right now, but a mounting pile of evidence suggests that we could be headed back into a situation in which attracting and retaining staff is not only more difficult, but more expensive for employers.


“It’s going to likely be summer or fall when we start to see this dam of talent turn into a flood of candidates on the market,” said Hays Canada’s president Travis O’Rourke. “The thing you can do now is start having the conversations.” 


Is working behind a desk bad for your hearing?

Headphones are the new office walls, but listen up: they may be causing you hearing loss

IF YOU DON’T work in a manufacturing facility or on a construction site, chances are you aren’t protecting your ears as an occupational practice. Further, if you work in a desk job ― remote or in-office ― chances are also good that you are actively making this worse through your use of headphones.


Headphone use is ubiquitous in the modern desk job, and experts are starting to grow concerned that it’s leading to elevated levels of hearing damage. “What we often forget to realize is that headphones create noisy workplaces, even in those silent offices, where we wear headphones to cut out the sound or to commute,” CEO of Eargym Amanda Philpott told Digiday’s WorkLife.


Consider this: you’d probably wear hearing protection when operating a jackhammer on a construction site, which can generate about 100 dB of noise. But you probably don’t think twice about putting your headphones close to full blast, which generates about ― you guessed it ― 100 dB of noise.


“Who knew that your desk job would be causing you more hearing damage than a factory!” opined the Academy of Hearing Centres.


“I can’t live without Spotify,” one social media marketer told Cloey Callahan. “I’m always getting that ‘volume too high’ warning on my phone and I’m like, ‘ah, whatever, it’s fine.’”


The turn to remote work is believed to be making this worse, too, as more people make use of headphones in their day-to-day jobs. “The frequency and duration of earphone and headphone use have been increasing as remote work increases,” found Japanese researchers at the University of Tsukuba. Though they don’t draw a firm causal link, they found that “the prevalence of hearing loss among people under 60 years of age significantly increased during the Covid-19 pandemic,” and found that people under 40 were seeing higher rates of hearing loss.


So, for the sake of your own ears, it may be a good idea to pack away the headphones now and then. Take a break at least once every hour, experts suggest. Cap your volume at 60 per cent. Think of your ears like a muscle and stop overworking them. “Go for a walk, make a cup of coffee,” said Philpott. “Take your headphones off for a bit and allow your ears to rest.” 

Terry Talks: Happiness is slipping in Canada. If you’re young, you probably know why

Since most of us spend a great deal of our lives working, it is inevitable that work plays a key role in shaping our levels of happiness. In the most recent World Happiness Report — published last week to coincide with the United Nation’s International Day of Happiness — the Nordic countries are once again humming along with the highest scores. For its part Canada is in 15th place, down two spots from last year, while its younger people are way down the rankings in a newly added category. 



Life at the crest of a demographic tsunami

Meet peak millennials, a micro-generation thats competing for almost everything

OVER THE LAST couple years there’s been no shortage of data showing a sense of dissatisfaction and frustration among the workforce, particularly among young people, many of whom look at the economy and see too little opportunity, too much competition and too few resources.


At times, there have been just as many attempts to wave away this phenomenon as precious millennials being precious millennials (the avocado toast fiasco being just the most memorable of these), but demographic experts and economic experts are starting to think of it a bit differently.


“If demographics are destiny, the demographic born in 1990 and 1991 was destined to compete for housing, jobs and other resources,” wrote Jeanna Smialek in The New York Times. “This hyper-specific age group ― call us what you will, but I like ‘peak millennials’ ― has moved through the economy like a person squeezing into a too-small sweater. At every stage, it has stretched a system that was often too small to accommodate it, leaving it somewhat flabby and misshapen in its wake.”


Welcome, in other words, to the peak millennial economy.


You can see fingerprints of the peak millennial economy everywhere, in the stories of juggling multiple jobs and in employers beginning to offer student loan benefits, for instance.


“Millennials are the generation that invented the side hustle out of necessity, [and] has had to spend more time in school just to land entry-level jobs,” wrote Rob Shapiro. “They have not been able to advance their careers with the same speed and efficiency as older generations, and it’s gotten worse the last few years as millennials have experienced low earnings, less wealth and have missed out on several important benchmarks.”


A recent report in Business Insider suggested that many in this generation are “adjusting their expectations for a dream career.”


While the peak millennial concept goes a long way to explain the sour mood of the workforce, it is also set to shape the labour market moving forward. There are no new millennials joining the workforce; heck, there are barely any new Gen Z entrants, with most of that generation already in their 20s and thus in the workforce.


“Noticeably fewer people are now aging into adulthood with each passing year,” Smialek writes. “The question is whether the drop-off is significant enough for employers and workers to feel it.”


Navigating the workplace language divide

The most recent arrivals on the job market are shaking up the habits of their older colleagues, particularly when it comes to professional jargon

ONE OF THE myriad ways that the younger generation is changing the workplace these days is linguistically, say experts. Signing off on an emails with “yours truly,” “yours sincerely” or ― God forbid ― “with compliments,” doesn’t so much mark you as a keen professional communicator. It marks you as old.


Some British research from late last year, published by Barclays LifeSkills, found that the entry of Gen Z into the workplace has had a seismic impact on the language used there.


“In the last five years, during which the oldest of Gen Z have embedded themselves in the office, over two-thirds of Brits have noticed a change in the way people use language in the workplace,” the research found. “Seven in ten believe this is due to Gen Z changing the formality of language.”


On the decline are phrases like “to whom it may concern,” or the aforementioned “yours truly.” On the way up are sign-offs like “thanks!” and “thanks so much!”


Another factor is that communication is more constant and instant now. “Email threads and instant messaging platforms have become blended into conversations, where formal openings and sign offs might feel out of place,” says Laura Bailey, a lecturer at the University of Kent, speaking to CNBC.


There is some tension underlying all this though. “The upcoming generation has been told to ‘be yourself,’” said Boston University’s Michelle Ehrenreich. “But there’s a tension when they start working in a more corporate environment.” The BBC spoke to one mid-20s employee who was let go last year, with her boss citing her use of words such as “like” and “totally” ― words even the stuffiest of millennials and gen Zers are guilty of using approximately a billion times a day.


“No-one told me beforehand what to say or not to say,” this worker told the BBC. “Everyone my age talks this way. How was I supposed to know?” 


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