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Most current bosses or managers are rated favourably, but many residents recall facing stubbornness, arrogance and even sexual harassment at the workplace.

Vancouver, BC – The second annual “Dream Employer” poll, conducted by Insights West in partnership with Miles Employment Group and the Vancouver Board of Trade, uncovers a large proportion of disagreeable experiences from British Columbia’s workforce when it comes to their supervisors.

Insights West conducted the largest study of its kind, surveying 3,328 adults, and found that over two thirds of British Columbians (68%) acknowledge having experienced “a truly terrible” boss or manager over the course of their careers, including 75% of those aged 35-54 and 72% of those aged 55 and over.

All respondents, including those who are now retired, were asked about specific incidents they may have experienced or witnessed throughout the course of their working life. More than seven-in-ten respondents mentioned lack of communication (80%), lack of appreciation (77%), lack of guidance (75%), lack of mentorship (74%), favouritism (74%), stubbornness (74%) and arrogance (72%) from a boss or manager.


Across the province, one-in-five workers (19%) say they have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment from a boss or manager, including one-in-four (25%) female respondents.

Also troubling is the fact that British Columbians report witnessing some of these negative traits with their current boss or manager, with around one-in-five saying they are dealing right now with a superior who is bad at communication (23%), guidance (20%) and mentorship (18%).

“Nearly every one of us has experienced a terrible boss at one point in our lifetime,” says Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. “But what is amazing to me is that, despite survey results such as ours, a number of organizations fail to see this, or perhaps, are aware of these terrible bosses in the workplace, but turn a blind eye when it comes to removing these individuals from supervisory positions.”

Two thirds of British Columbians (66%) say their previous boss or manager was a factor in their decision to seek a new job.

Across the province, seven-in-ten employed British Columbians (71%) rate their current boss or manager as “excellent, very good or good”, while three-in-ten (29%) consider him or her “fair, poor or terrible.” Workers aged 35-54 (34%) are more likely to rate their current manager or boss negatively than those aged 18-34 (24%) and those aged 55 and over (29%).

When asked about characteristics that would have “a lot of impact” on a boss or manager “being great”, British Columbians point out treating you with fairness and respect (89%), listening and responding appropriately to ideas and opinions (79%), allowing you appropriate autonomy in your job (76%), recognizing good work by thanking you and praising you (73%) and being pleasant, friendly or humorous (71%). The lowest ranked item on this list is socializing with employees after work (12%).

Join us on February 3rd where the results of the survey will be presented by Steve Mossop from Insights West and Sandra Miles from Miles Employment at the 2nd Annual Dream Employer Awards. They will be joined by an expert panel of representatives from each of the top four employers as determined by the survey. The winners will share what it really means to provide an engaged workplace that is able to attract and retain the best talent in B.C.

For more information on the event, click here.

About Insights West:
Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has ten full-time and five part-time employees.

About Miles Employment Group
The Miles Employment Group is charted for the future to be the premier provider of innovative human resource and job search solutions. By transcending traditional boundaries we will inspire our customers. The Miles Employment Group is committed to providing a positive, respectful, and supportive work environment, that inspires teamwork and creates opportunities for growth.

About the Vancouver Board of Trade
For 127 years, The Vancouver Board of Trade has helped businesses of all sizes to grow and prosper. Our mission is to work in the enlightened interest of our members to promote, enhance and facilitate the development of the region as a Pacific centre for trade, commerce and travel. The Board strives to enable and empower its members to succeed, grow and prosper in the global economy.

About this Release:
The survey, designed and hosted by Insights West, was conducted online between November 18 and December 9, 2014. A total of 3,328 eligible and complete responses were compiled during the survey period. Data was weighted by region, age, gender and employment status to ensure the sample matches known population proportions from Census Canada data for BC. Click here to view the detailed data tabulations for this study.

For further information, please contact:
Steve Mossop
President, Insights West


Photograph: Courtesy of Matt Brown, CC