Survey of government employees shows troubling trends


Survey of government employees shows troubling trends

A recent survey of workers in the federal public service continues to demonstrate that public service workers are highly committed to their work while struggling to do more with less. While the survey results are similar to what workers reported in 2008, some trends are troubling.

“With the drastic cutbacks proposed by the Harper government, we wonder whether the public service will continue to be a good place to work and whether public service workers will be able to continue to deliver the quality public services they are so proud of,” says John Gordon, National President of PSAC.

The 2011 Public Service Employee Survey is the most recent version of the survey, which is taken every three years to gauge how public service workers feel about their jobs and work environments. The 2011 survey was filled out by over 200,000 workers, reflecting a response rate of 72%.

Most public service workers stated they were proud of the work they do (89%), that they get a sense of satisfaction from their work (76%), and 94% of them agreed that they are “willing to put in the extra effort to get the job done.”

However, when asked if they have the opportunities to implement ideas on how to improve their work, only 61% responded positively. Workers say that even though they may want to do a good job, they aren’t given the flexibility to improve things. Many workers (45%) stated that the quality of their work suffers because of too many approval stages.

Fewer resources

Further, 44% of the workers surveyed stated that their quality of work suffers because of “having to do the same or more work, but with fewer resources” – up from 42% in 2008. This clearly reflects a trend that will only increase as more and more cuts are made to public service jobs and services.

While workers have a high level of trust in their immediate supervisors, trust in senior management has declined since 2008. At a time of great uncertainty, fewer workers now believe that essential information flows from senior management to staff. Only 58% of workers surveyed believe that senior managers in their organization lead by example in ethical behaviour.

Harassment continues to be a problem for many workers – 29% of workers reported having been the victim of harassment on the job, which is up slightly from 2008 (28%). And there is more dissatisfaction with the way in which departments and work units respond to harassment and discrimination than in 2008. On the positive side, fewer workers reported having been the victim of discrimination on the job (14%) than in 2008 (18%).

Visit the Treasury Board’s website to read the full results of the survey.


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