The survey gathered the views of leaders from four constituencies, i.e. private sector business, private sector labour, public sector management, and public sector labour. The analysis compares and contrasts the responses of all four constituencies to individual survey questions.
As in 1996 and 1998, respondents were asked to rate the seriousness of a number of national-level issues facing the economy. While responses spanned a wide spectrum, some issues were common among constituencies. The analysis first describes the profile of the priority issues perceived by the various constituencies, and then turns to examine how these priorities have shifted since the 1996 Survey.
Chart 1(a) presents the top priority issues listed by labour and management in the private sector. The length of the bars represents the proportion of each constituency’s respondents who regarded the issue as a serious problem. Chart 1(b) presents the corresponding top issues of management and labour in the public sector.
Several broad observations emerge from these charts, as follows:
There is a significant contrast between the top priority issues of management and labour. High Taxes, by a wide margin, are the top priority for business (i.e. private sector management) and are the second priority of public sector management. International Competitiveness is the top priority of public sector management, and ranks among private sector business respondents’ top four. Skill Shortage and Brain Drain issues also ranked among the top five priorities of both public and private sector management respondents. None of these issues ranks near the top of labour’s priority concerns, although it is notable that almost 50% of private sector labour respondents showed concerns over High Taxes.
In contrast, both private and public sector labour respondents cite Reduced Social Spending as their top concern, with Lack of Jobs an overall second. Environmental Degradation, International Trade Issues, Income Inequality and Unemployment Rate levels were also of relatively high concern for labour respondents. Most of these issues appeared among those ranked lowest by management.
For the most part, the very top priorities of labour and management do not overlap at all. The two constituencies, however, do agree on several issues which for each are moderate priorities (40% of each constituency regards them as very serious). For all four constituencies, these are Skill Shortages and Brain Drain. Labour and management in the private sector also share concerns about High Taxes, International Competitiveness, and Lack of Consensus over Canada’s Economic Priorities.