Today’s generation of Canadian university graduates are the employees of tomorrow, and a new study is showing that Canadian companies need to rethink their branding strategy if they wish to remain attractive to new talent.
The 2019 release of the annual survey by employer branding company, Universum Global, surveyed 20,676 students across 162 Canadian universities and colleges to understand student expectations and future goals of the workforce, as well as to gather the top companies that graduates strive to work for in six different sectors: business, engineering/IT, natural sciences, liberal arts, health and medicine, and law.
“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,” said Jason Kipps, managing director of Universum Canada, in a statement.
According to Kipps, Canadian companies tend to overlook how important employer branding is, and they invest in it significantly less than their American counterparts.
And this correlates with the study’s results, particularly in the engineering and tech sector, where only two Canadian companies—the Canadian Space Agency (#6) and Bombardier (#9)—made the top 10 most attractive employers in that field.
Across other sectors though, the study found noticeable increase in the attractiveness of the Canadian banking industry, with TD Bank (#5) and RBC (#8) making the list of top ten business companies, behind giants like Google, Apple and Amazon, that made the top three. Google made the top ten of just about every list except for Natural Sciences.
Shifting generational expectations
For Canadian companies to increase their presence in the minds of young hires, the study says improvements are needed in the way they market themselves as well as a shift in focus—instead of looking at what recruits can do for the company, businesses need to market the experience of what it’s like to work for them.
This is especially true considering the changing expectations of newer generations like Millennials and Gen Z. In fact, one of the reasons that Canadian banks are doing better is because they have been putting an effort behind “building strong company cultures and communicating the opportunities they can offer,” the study said.
In addition to this, while the study found that newer generations are increasingly attracted by the prospect of high future earnings and job security, they also have the need to feel accomplished.
Newer generations want to be dedicated to a cause, wish to serve the greater good, and make a personal impact. And in accordance with that, they value professional training and development to get them to that point.
This is consistent with another recent study commissioned by office supply company, Hamster, and conducted by the market research firm, Léger, which found that personal achievement and constant growth and development are top motivating factors for Canadian employees today.