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Canada’s Most Attractive Employers 2019

By Universum on 29/05/2019

Annual survey by Universum Global shows huge leaps in ranking for Canada’s financial institutions and hints that companies’ employer branding efforts may be focused on the wrong things

Toronto, May 29, 2019 — Canadian companies may need to revisit how they’re communicating to new recruits, this, according to employer branding firm Universum Global’s annual talent survey for 2019. Universum surveyed 20,676 students from 162 universities and colleges across Canada. The aim is to better understand the future of the workforce and students’ expectations of it, as well as the companies they deem to be the most attractive employers in Canada. The report can be accessed here.

As Jason Kipps, Managing Director of Universum Canada explains, “This next generation of graduates will have a tremendous influence on Canadian employment trends, which is why understanding their preferences and career goals is so critical for employer branding and recruitment efforts.” He continues, “Canadian companies tend to overlook the importance of employer branding, and when they do invest it’s typically significantly less than their American counterparts. But this year we’re seeing an incredible upswing for the Canadian banking industry, which has put a lot of effort behind building strong company cultures and communicating the opportunities they can offer. What employers are communicating is typically based on stereotypes that are misaligned with what that talent is really looking for, which we can support with the findings from our data.”

When it comes to recruitment marketing and employer branding, Canadian companies are behind the times, focusing more on what recruits can do for the company rather than what it’s like to work for the company.

Further, Gen Y and Gen Z have grown up with different expectations of their employers. For example, while diversity remains a serious issue across all industries, calls for diversity and inclusion do not make it into the top 10 preferences overall for respondents when ranking aspects that influence employer attractiveness. Canadian post-secondary students believe diversity to be a basic expectation that should already be in place. Rather, the survey reveals criteria like ‘high future earnings’ (50%), secure employment’ (46%) and ‘professional training and development’ (42%) rank as the top attributes of importance for Canadian post-secondary students.

With international tech giants vying heavily for Canadian STEM talent and concerns over ‘brain drain’ of STEM graduates, it’s important to note only two Canadian companies cracked the top 10 of most attractive employers for engineering/IT students.

Canadian Space Agency (6) and Bombardier (9) are the only Canadian companies to break into the top 10, with e-commerce giant Shopify making one of the biggest leaps in the ranking, moving up to 20 from 43 in 2018.

While salary expectations have increased, the gender gap regarding salary expectations has decreased. Women still expect approximately $5,000 to $6,000 less than their male counterparts when entering the workforce, which could be one of the reasons for the gender pay gap.

For students entering the workforce in business fields, the gender gap in expected salary is $5,983 CAD (compared to $6,696 in 2018) and for students in Engineering/IT, the gap is $4,812 CAD (compared to $6,935 in 2018). In Ontario, that number is even greater a disparity where women are expecting less than their male counterparts ($5,908 CAD gender pay gap among Engineering/IT students). When looking at generational differences, Gen Y students expect to make more than Gen Z (for business students the salary expectation difference is $57,648 for Gen Z vs. $54,404 for Gen Y, whereas for engineering/IT students it’s $64,866 for Gen Z vs. $62,457 for Gen Y)

For business students, Canadian companies have made some of the biggest gains on the ‘most attractive employers list,’ particularly financial institutions like TD and RBC, which speaks to the great investment they’ve made over the years in talent recruitment and employer branding.

Other Insights

  • The top five most attractive industries across all MFOS are: health care services, entertainment and recreation, banks, education, and scientific institutions, followed by the public sector and governmental agencies
  • Banks and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industries see an elevated appeal among business and engineering/IT talent
  • Public sector organizations continue to experience decline in interest with talent across most fields of study

About the survey

The Most Attractive Employers survey was conducted from October 2018 to February 2019. The survey was completed with 20,676 students from 161 universities and colleges across Canada who are focused on six main fields of study: Business; engineering/IT; natural sciences; liberal arts/fine arts/education/social sciences; law; and health and medicine.

 Click here to download the full ranking and find out more about the career goals and preferences of Canadian talent

Talent Insights

Do you wish to better understand your brand image, audience and competitors?

Every year Universum surveys over 1 million students and professionals worldwide to identify the brand image status of the most attractive employers. Our Analytics solutions give you the insights you need to win the war for talent.

About Universum Global

Universum, part of the StepStone Group, is a global thought leader in Employer Branding. With 30 years of valuable experience in the field of employer branding, we have established ourselves in 60 markets globally, and our diverse workforce is physically present in 20 countries. We are uniquely positioned through our talent surveys to deliver key insights to recruiters about what future talent is looking for in a company. Our expertise and ability to support retargeting and strong branding sees us engage with 65m people and work with 1500 campaigns every year. Our data-led, human and meaningful output has attracted 1,700 clients, including many Fortune 500 companies, as well as global media partners that publish our annual rankings and trend reports. Find out more at www.universumglobal.com.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]