Report: Canadian Companies Behind the Times for Talent-Recruiting Strategies

Are Canadian employers really listening to the desires and needs of potential recruits?

Annually, employer branding firm, Universum Global releases their talent survey, the Most Attractive Employers for 2019. The report highlights the future of the workforce and students’ expectations of it, as well as the companies they believe to be the most attractive employers in Canada.

This year, findings in the report showed that Canadian companies are behind the times, and continued to invest less than their American counterparts on company culture and communicating their offerings to potential recruits.

According to Jason Kipps, Managing Director of Universum, “Those employers that can demonstrate that they are listening and can adapt are more likely to attract their next great leader, performer, innovator or change maker.”

The firm surveyed 20,676 students from 162 universities and colleges across Canada. The report split the students surveyed into six main fields of study: Business; engineering/IT; natural sciences; liberal arts/fine arts/education/social sciences; law; and health and medicine.

The report revealed that the top five most attractive industries for talent were health care services, entertainment and recreation, banks, education and scientific institutions followed by public sector organizations. Although, public sector organizations continued to show a decline in interest across all fields of study.

However, for business students, Canadian companies have boosted their appeal, in particular financial institutions like TD and RBC have made some big gains on the Most Attractive Employers list.

While tech continued to grow, only two Canadian companies made the top 10 for Engineering/IT companies.The companies that cracked the list were the Canadian Space Agency and Bombardier. Also notable, is the leap Canadian ecommerce company, Shopify made moving up to 20 from 43.

“It was also surprising to see Huawei become a preferred employer this year amongst Engineering and IT talent in Canada. Despite their challenges they became one of the biggest gainers in the Canadian rankings,” said Kipps.

The report also highlighted some surprising differences in expectations between students and employers. Further showcasing that companies are choosing to focus on the wrong things when trying to attract talent.

While, the push for more diversity in the workplace is well-known and companies continued to tout diversity and gender balance in their recruitment strategies, the survey showed that other attributes such as high future earnings, secure employment, and professional training and development are more top of mind to post-secondary students.

According to the survey students believed diversity and gender parity should be a basic expectation already in place by companies. “Those potential candidates that self-identified as ethnically diverse or as a visible minority did not identify the employers willingness to support diversity and inclusion as one of their top 10 most important priorities,” said Kipps.

In regards to salary expectations, findings showed that the gender gap has decreased. Salary expectations for students entering business fields was $5,983 and for students entering Engineering/IT the gap was $4,812.

Across generations the differences in salary expectations between Gen Y and Gen Z were explored. Gen Y business students expected to make $57,648 versus $54,404 for Gen Z. Meanwhile, for Engineering/IT students the gap was $64,866 for Gen Z versus $62,457 for Gen Y.

Canada’s Most Attractive Employers for 2019 report helps to demystify what future employees truly want, thus helping employers secure top talent and keep Canada globally competitive. The full report can be read here.