Nearly 1 in 3 Canadians say their job isn’t meaningful - Charity Savant

We asked, and Canadians answered.

When “meaningful” is defined as “your work makes the world a better place or has a positive impact on others” nearly one third of Canadians (32%) say that their job isn’t meaningful.

That’s nearly 1 in 3 of Canadians who feel that their work doesn’t make a positive impact on others.

The new study, commissioned by Charity Savant and hosted on the Angus Reid forum, asked participants to rank how meaningful they found their job: very meaningful, somewhat meaningful, not very meaningful, or not meaningful at all.

How meaningful Canadians find their work seems to increase with age. Those aged 55 and older are most likely to find their jobs meaningful with 81% rating their job as meaningful, while Canadians in the 18-34 age group are least likely, at only 63%. Whether this is a result of a generational shift in values, or a reflection of early career woes, remains to be seen.

Meaningfulness of work is important, because research has shown that when they look back, many people wish they had chosen their career path based on what made them happy. In another study, researchers interviewed nearly 1500 people over age 70, and the most common advice elders gave was: “Don’t stay in a job you don’t like.”

At Charity Savant, we believe that everyone deserves to feel that their work is meaningful. That’s why we started Karma Careers, the best online course to help transition job seekers into values-based careers in the charitable sector.

The fact is, jobs in the community and social service sector are among the highest-ranked for feeling that your job “makes the world a better place.” Workers at charities, nonprofits, and other social service organizations feel strongly that their work has a direct benefit on others.

Regions, Income & Education

Looking at the data for each province, we find next-door neighbours who have very different results. At 80% finding their job meaningful, Saskatchewan has the highest percentage of satisfied workers in Canada. But next door, only 61% of Manitobans find their work meaningful, the lowest of all the provinces.

Somewhat predictably, meaningfulness is also tied to income. Canadians living in households earning less than $50,000 are the most likely income group to say their job doesn’t have a positive impact.

Education, though, is a bit of a surprise. While those with high school education or less are least likely to say their work has a positive impact, it’s grads from college and technical school that find their jobs the most meaningful. University graduates fall somewhere in the middle, showing that an expensive education doesn’t always guarantee job satisfaction.  


From June 29th to June 30th, 2016 an online survey was conducted among 1,003 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.