Insights March 29th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 10.44.04 AMStudy finds a quarter of Canadian adults believe a computer program would be more trustworthy and ethical than their boss

A new study by Intensions Consulting and Nikolas Badminton has examined the future of work across Canada – and the findings suggest some challenges ahead.
The study, which surveyed 2299 adults across Canada, found that a quarter (26%) of Canadian adults believe an unbiased computer program would be more trustworthy and ethical than their workplace leaders and managers. Among younger adults (those aged 20-39) that number was significantly higher, with 31% agreeing that an unbiased computer program would be more trustworthy and ethical than their workplace leaders and managers.
“This study has uncovered a number of interesting and potentially challenging trends for the future of work in Canada,” says Nick Black, Managing Partner at Intensions Consulting. “For younger adults, who have grown up trusting and relying on technology, there seems to be a growing preference for automated leadership and management.”
Challenging the current workplace reality, a quarter (26%) of Canadian adults would prefer to be screened and hired, or have their job performance assessed, by an unbiased computer program. For younger adults those numbers were significantly higher, with 34% preferring to be hired, 33% preferring to be assessed, and 26% preferring to be managed by an unbiased computer program.
According to Nikolas Badminton, a Futurist and an expert on the future of work, “People are losing faith in human management, and rightly so. Who would you trust, a human with personal biases and opinions or a rational and balanced AI? These results are not surprising, and I expect to start seeing automated HR and management systems being deployed in the next 3 to 5 years – with a human touch to maintain creativity and empathy.”


At a time of technological change and financial pressure, many people are also beginning to question the rules and norms that govern working life. According to Black, “the data shows that Canadian adults have a strong desire for flexibility in their working life, and if employers aren’t willing to respond, many would consider working for themselves.”
The study found that 55% of Canadian adults would like their employer to provide extended leave opportunities, 45% would prefer not to work at fixed times (i.e. 9am – 5pm), 41% would prefer not to work at a fixed location (i.e. at an office), 34% would prefer to work from a remote or overseas location, and almost half (45%) would like to start their own business or work for themselves in the future.
“Flexibility and empowerment will be the new work currencies and productivity will be redefined,“ says Badminton. “Flexible payment schedules for workers will come into effect administered by automated systems that measure output, not hours put in.”


Finally, many people are also concerned that work is interfering with their personal lives.
“Whether it’s cutting corners to save time, or paying other people to do their job for them, Canadian adults are considering some unique ways to take back control at work” says Black.
According to the study, 37% of Canadian adults are concerned that work responsibilities are interfering with their personal lives, 30% are always looking for new ways to cut corners and save time at work, 25% think it’s fair to pursue their own projects and interests at work (i.e. developing a business or promoting their own brand), and amongst younger adults, 20% would consider paying other people to do their job for them (i.e. using Craigslist or Freelancer).
“Progressive employees are working smarter by outsourcing tasks to other people and using their free time for more creative pursuits and personal projects” says Badminton. “In the next 1 to 3 years I expect to see people negotiating unlimited vacation days and the ability to ‘work’ remotely as a reward.”


These are the findings of an Intensions Consulting study conducted between August 21, 2015 and February 25, 2016. For this study, an online survey was administered with a sample of 2,299 English-speaking Canadian adults between the ages of 20 and 59. The sample was stratified and weightings were employed to balance demographics, ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the targeted Canadian population according to Census data, and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A traditional unweighted probability sample of this size would produce results considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


Intensions Consulting Inc., is a Vancouver based market research consultancy. Our purpose is to find hidden insights and market opportunities for our clients. We do this through a combination of research, psychology and strategy – using statistics and emotion to explain human behaviour. Intensions conduct studies across North America, Europe and Asia. web:


Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker who provides keynote speeches about the future of work, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. Nikolas is based in Vancouver, BC, and speaks across Canada, USA, UK, Asia, and Europe. web: //
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Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas Badminton is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA (FRSA), a media personality, and has worked with over 400 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

Contact Nikolas