‘Hangover’ from government layoffs spills beyond public sector: management expert

Peter Kovessy
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The negative impact of government downsizing on employee engagement is seeping beyond federal offices and into workplaces across the National Capital Region, according to a local management expert.

Federal government

Jaime McGillivray, a Gatineau-based director with the Canadian Management Centre, said many local residents know a friend, family member or neighbour affected by government cutbacks.

The perceived arbitrariness of some of the decisions - workers being told they could be laid off just as they return from extended training sessions, or as they approach retirement, for example - is creating a sense of unease among local workers in both the public and private sectors, Ms. McGillivray said in an interview.

“The dust hasn’t quite settled,” she said.

“The entire region, across all industries, seem to be (suffering from) the hangover of federal layoffs.”

CMC and Ipsos Reid surveyed 1,200 Canadian workers in August to study strategies for improving employee engagement. While specific figures were not available for Ottawa, Ipsos Reid vice-president Trevor Clarke said there was a noticeable decline among public sector workers in their confidence in their senior leaders, something he attributed to ongoing government austerity.

CMC and Ipsos Reid presented some of the high-level findings of its survey at a morning seminar on Tuesday at the Delta Ottawa City Centre.

Among the national results:

-27 per cent of surveyed employees reported being highly engaged at work, compared to 50 per cent that said they were moderately engaged. Another 23 per cent said they were not engaged.-Confidence in senior leadership is significantly lower among public administration and government workers at 35 per cent, compared to financial services at 52 per cent and high tech at 55 per cent.

-Younger workers are less engaged than their older counterparts. However, older workers are more likely to be managers, who are more likely to report high levels of engagement than entry level workers.

Organizations: Canadian Management Centre, Ipsos Reid

Geographic location: Ottawa

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