Up with millennials! The most popular of the special interest competitions, Canada's Top Employers for Young People sends out a message of confidence in today's students and recent grads just starting their careers. The 95 winning companies for 2016 not only welcome young people into their ranks, but also offer unique opportunities for them to develop their knowledge and skill sets through a variety of paid internships, educational support, job shadowing, rotational programs and the chance to travel and work abroad.
These employers also profit by giving young talent a voice, allowing them to put forward ideas that add value and bring fresh energy to the workplace. For example, KPMG manages the National Boardroom Skills Challenge, which provides interns with an opportunity to recommend a solution and strategy to a real-life business case on an issue the firm is facing. Other creative initiatives include Canadian Tire's Dragon's Den for Digital, which provides IT employees with a chance to pitch their ideas to senior leadership, and L'Oréal's Brandstorm, a marketing competition wherein groups of students present case study analyses to L'Oréal judges who then reward regional winners with a trip to Paris to participate in the international competition at the company's head office.
Additionally, these organizations understand that young people expect their employers to recognize the importance of corporate social responsibility and giving back to the community. "The desire to make a contribution remains a unique characteristic of this generation, and one that employers continue to tap into," says Kristina Leung, a senior editor at Canada's Top 100 Employers at Mediacorp Canada Inc.
Socially conscious initiatives remain an integral part of Canada's Top Employers for Young People and is a key connection in attracting and retaining younger workers. There are numerous examples of these endeavours, such as Accenture's intern national day of service, Royal Bank of Canada's career launch program, which includes a work assignment at a local charity, and Ecclesiastical Insurance Office's business intern program, which provides a placement within a charity, museum or non-profit organization.
What does it take to become one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People?
The editors of Canada's Top 100 Employers evaluate each employer, based on the programs and initiatives it offers to attract and retain younger workers. Among these are tuition assistance, the availability of co-op or work-study programs, as well as mentorship and training programs, including benefits such as bonuses paid when employees complete certain courses or professional designations. The editors also review each employer's career management program, looking for initiatives that can help younger workers advance faster in the organization. Lastly, the editors look at the average age of employees at each organization to better understand the composition and profile of its workforce.
Any employer with its head office or principal place of business in Canada may apply for this competition through the Canada's Top 100 Employers application process. Organizations of any size may participate, whether private- or public-sector. Employers complete a single application for the national, regional and special-interest competitions, including Canada's Top Employers for Young People.
Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2016)
Accenture Inc., Toronto. Management consulting; 3,476 employees. Provides an online app to job candidates to help them prepare for their interview.
Agrium Inc., Calgary. Fertilizer manufacturing; 3,560 employees. Offers a four-year rotational engineer-in-training program to help new graduates combine their knowledge from university or college with on-the-job training.
Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., Boyle, Alta. Pulp mills; 435 employees. Provides internships to power-engineering students to help them obtain the required steam-time hours over three consecutive summer work terms.
Aldo Group Inc., Saint-Laurent, Que. Retailer, 2,619 employees. Gives recent graduates the opportunity to participate in tours of the company's head office and distribution centre.
AltaGas Ltd., Calgary. Natural gas distribution; 964 employees. Created a two-year new-graduate development program to provide recent grads with full-time employment.
ATB Financial, Edmonton. Credit unions; 4,674 employees. Maintains a millennials-focused employee resource group to discuss issues that affect millennials in the workplace, as well as networking and community building.
Bayer, Mississauga. Pharmaceutical manufacturing; 1,639 employees. Oversees the Summer Student Facebook Bloggers, a blog site for students to share their experiences with other students and potential recruits.
Bennett Jones LLP, Calgary. Law firm; 861 employees. Produced a guide entitled What We Wish We Had Known for legal assistant practicum students.
Big Viking Games Inc., London, Ont. Software publishers; 66 employees. Provides opportunities for internal and external mentoring, including reverse mentoring between older and younger employees.
Boeing Canada Operations Ltd., Winnipeg. Aircraft parts and auxiliary equipment manufacturing; 1,805 employees. Partners with Tec Voc High School and the University of Manitoba's engineering program to provide mentoring to students.
British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA), Burnaby, B.C. Professional organizations; 860 employees. Has apprenticeships for students and hires them as full-time auto technicians upon completion of the program.
British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority, Vancouver. Hydroelectric power generation; 5,048 employees. Created a graduate technologist-in-training program to provide employees with structured career development and on-the-job experience.
Bruce Power LP, Tiverton, Ont. Nuclear power generation; 4,059 employees. Manages a student development program to provide training and work experience to full-time college and university students.
Cactus Restaurants Ltd., Vancouver. Restaurants; 1,008 employees. Offers one of Canada's largest in-house apprenticeship programs for employees pursuing Red Seal chef certification.
Cameco Corp., Saskatoon. Uranium mining; 3,030 employees. Manages a chapter of North American Young Generation in Nuclear, a group that offers development opportunities for young professionals in nuclear science and technology.
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Ottawa. Federal government; 40,007 employees. Established an aboriginal student employment program for high-school and postsecondary students.
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Toronto. Banking; 35,438 employees. Created the GenNext@CIBC program for younger employees to cultivate leadership development by providing them with community engagement opportunities.
Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Ottawa. Federal government; 3,299 employees. Staff attended more than 100 recruitment events in the past year, including 10 networking sessions, and held 11 career information sessions.
Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd., Toronto. Retailer; 85,000 employees. Manages a talent rotational program for aspiring IT professionals.
Capgemini Canada Inc., Toronto. Information technology; 389 employees. Established the Millennial Innovation Council with the objective of strengthening cross-generational collaboration and fostering innovation in younger employees.
Cargill Ltd., Winnipeg. Agricultural products; 7,741 employees. Offers interns a one-day job-shadowing opportunity with the business unit of their choosing.
Cisco Systems Canada Co., Toronto. Computer and equipment manufacturing; 1,633 employees. Offers 10 mentoring programs for employees' diverse needs, including reverse mentoring for senior leaders.
Citco (Canada) Inc., Toronto. Portfolio management; 1,112 employees. Recently established a two-year global graduate program, piloted at the company's Halifax office.
Coca-Cola Canada, Toronto. Beverage and food manufacturing; 5,388 employees. Manages a university talent program featuring two streams: a region sales summer program and a region sales leadership program.
Connect Hearing, Victoria. Audiology and physical, occupational and speech therapy services; 298 employees. Offers paid internships for hearing-instrument practitioner students.
Corus Entertainment Inc., Toronto. Media production and broadcasting; 1,525 employees. Created the Innovative Storytellers Award, a $20,000 five-year educational initiative.
D2L, Kitchener, Ont. Custom computer programming; 707 employees. Offers its student employees the opportunity to meet with executives once a term to share their experiences and projects.
DeltaWare Systems Inc., Charlottetown. Custom computer programming; 106 employees. Manages a development seminar program that offers technical and non-technical courses and "lunch and learn" sessions.
Dentons Canada LLP, Toronto. Law firm; 1,253 employees. Maintains a professional development committee, which ensures that training at each Dentons office is current, consistent and relevant.
Department of Finance Canada, Ottawa. Federal government; 748 employees. Organizes the Job Shadowing Sweepstakes event to provide employees the opportunity to share a day with a senior official.
Desjardins Group/Mouvement des caisses Desjardins, Lévis, Que. Credit unions; 38,873 employees. Maintains the Desjardins young executives network for managers under 35.
Ecclesiastical Insurance Office PLC, Toronto. Insurance; 66 employees. Manages the three-year rotational business intern program geared to recent university graduates pursuing the chartered insurance professional designation.
Edmonton, City of, Edmonton. Municipal government; 9,681 employees. Maintains the NextGen Committee, which provides employees between 18 and 40 with a voice on how to shape the city.
EF Educational Tours, Toronto. Travel tour operators; 167 employees. Created a global finance program offering an 18-month internship that includes placements at various EF offices around the world.
Enbridge Inc., Calgary. Natural gas distribution; 6,014 employees. Established Connect, an employee resource group that focuses on the shared interests and challenges of Enbridge's young workforce.
Enmax Corp., Calgary. Electric power distribution, 1,863 employees. Manages a nine-month engineer-in-training program for recent electrical engineer graduates.
Epcor Utilities Inc., Edmonton. Electric power distribution, 2,167 employees. Created a job rotation program tailored to employees' individual interests, career accomplishments and long-term career goals.
Fednav Ltd., Montreal. Deep sea freight transportation; 163 employees. Offers scholarships to encourage young people to consider a career in the marine industry.
Fidelity Canada, Toronto. Portfolio management; 765 employees. Introduced a rotation program for high-performing co-op students working at Fidelity to return in a different position.
Flatiron Construction Corp., Richmond, B.C. Construction; 901 employees. Maintains an active presence on school campuses, participating in career fairs, serving as alumni contacts and hosting information sessions.
General Electric Canada (GE), Mississauga. Diversified technology and equipment manufacturing; 7,213 employees. Offers scholarships to female students and students of aboriginal descent who are studying engineering or business.
Great-West Life Assurance Co., Winnipeg. Insurance; 10,224 employees. Manages a scholarship and work placement program in partnership with the University of Winnipeg.
Groupe Dynamite Inc., Montreal. Retailer; 1,714 employees. Manages an innovation program, which encourages employees to submit creative ideas to improve the business.
Halogen Software Inc., Ottawa. Software publishers; 418 employees. Holds a five-day Halogen Olympics competition for employees to participate in activities such as capture the flag and trivia contests.
Health Canada (Santé Canada), Ottawa. Federal government; 9,140 employees. Organizes Mega-ConnEX, a networking event that brings together senior management and young employees.
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto. Hospitals: 544 employees. Manages a summer student research program that provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to conduct research alongside leading scientists in the children's rehabilitation sector.
Home Depot of Canada Inc., Toronto. Retailer; 12,000 employees. Played host to its first new-grad hiring day at the company's head office.
Hydro Ottawa, Ottawa. Electric power distribution; 642 employees. Has a partnership with Algonquin College to provide training to students enrolled in the two-year powerline technician diploma program.
Infusion, Toronto. Custom computer programming; 200 employees. Established the Air Infusion program, which allows employees to work in an international Infusion office for a year.
Jazz Aviation LP, Dartmouth, N.S. Air transportation; 4,362 employees. Manages the Jazz Award program, which provides select students with interviews and simulator assessments.
Joey Restaurant Group, Vancouver. Restaurants; 277 employees. Holds company-wide competitions to foster employees' development, such as Top Apprentice and League of Extraordinary Chefs.
KPMG LLP, Toronto. Accounting; 6,165 employees. Manages the National Boardroom Skills Challenge, providing interns with an opportunity to recommend a solution and strategy to real-life business cases.
L'Oréal Canada Inc., Montreal. Cosmetics manufacturing; 1,200 employees. Created the Beauty Shaker Awards competition to encourage staff to submit ideas and a presentation to improve efficiency at the company.
Labatt Breweries of Canada, Toronto. Breweries; 3,000 employees. Manages a 16-week internship program for university students, including participation in a "beer school" to learn how beer is made.
Lafarge Canada Ltd., Calgary. Concrete manufacturing; 3,166 employees. Maintains "knowledge transfer days" for employees from various locations and product lines to meet and tour different Lafarge offices and factories.
Loblaw Cos. Ltd., Brampton, Ont. Supermarkets; 28,580 employees. Created the 15-month grad@Loblaw rotational program for new graduates who receive full benefits and pay throughout its duration.
LoyaltyOne Co., Toronto. Marketing consulting services; 1,230 employees. Manages a co-op program to help students develop professional skills through workshops, "lunch and learn" sessions and networking opportunities.
Manitoba Hydro, Winnipeg. Hydroelectric power generation; 6,031 employees. Maintains an engineer-in-training program as well as a number of in-house apprenticeships.
Manitoba, Government of, Winnipeg. Provincial government; 14,320 employees. Created an 18-month management internship program for graduates with an interest in the public sector.
Manulife Financial Corp., Toronto. Insurance; 11,195 employees. Established a nationwide internship program offering employment opportunities in a broad range of disciplines.
Metrolinx, Toronto. Public transit; 3,011 employees. Created the annual Rob MacIsaac Fellowship Program, which allows students to conduct research in a public-sector environment.
Morgan Stanley Services Canada Corp., Montreal. Secondary market financing; 605 employees. Initiated a technology analyst program, a 15-week global training initiative for students in their final year of school.
NTT Data Canada Inc., Halifax. Computer systems design; 915 employees. Provides employees with guidance to change their career direction or advance in a current sector.
Nuance Communications Canada Inc., Montreal. Software publishers; 741 employees. Holds an executive "lunch and learn" series as an opportunity for interns to meet the senior executive team.
Ontario Public Service (OPS), Toronto. Provincial government; 61,698 employees. Created an internship program for recent grads in Northern Ontario to help them launch their careers.
Pepsi-Cola Canada, Mississauga. Beverage and food manufacturing; 9,163 employees. Manages an Emerging Leadership Program to help graduates transition to the workplace.
Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., Saskatoon. Fertilizer manufacturing; 2,788 employees. Created two-year engineer-in-training and geologist-in-training programs for young employees.
Procter & Gamble Inc., Toronto. Consumer product manufacturing; 1,729 employees. Maintains several employee networks to help new staff integrate into the organization.
Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), Vancouver. Hospitals; 10,028 employees. Held an open house for students in perinatal and neonatal nursing programs as part of its celebration of National Nursing Week.
Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd. (RJC), Vancouver. Engineering; 420 employees. Acknowledges exceptional mentors through the Rick Banman Mentorship Awards, as nominated by mentees.
R.F. Binnie & Associates Ltd., Burnaby, B.C. Engineering services; 110 employees. Maintains a young professionals committee, which holds company-subsidized monthly meetings for breakfast or lunch.
Richter LLP, Montreal. Accounting; 464 employees. Manages a comprehensive summer student program featuring team building activities and Friday training sessions on accounting, auditing, taxation and IT.
Rogers Communications Inc., Toronto. Communications, cable publishing and subscription programming; 23,325 employees. Created the Walk a Mile in My Shoes program, which allows employees to work in different roles within the company.
Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto. Banking; 52,026 employees. Maintains a NextGen employee resource group geared to staff in their 20s and 30s.
SAP Canada Inc., Toronto. Custom computer programming; 2,625 employees. Offers a two-year training initiative for young talent in a variety of departments with job-shadowing opportunities.
Saskatchewan Abilities Council, Saskatoon. Services for the elderly and persons with disabilities; 321 employees. Sponsors two-year paid residency positions for students in orthotics and prosthetics.
Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI), Regina. Insurance; 1,850 employees. Created the President's Youth Advisory Council in 2005 to provide support to younger employees.
Saskatchewan Public Service, Regina. Provincial government; 8,453 employees. Holds an annual Show and Sell Your Summer Job contest, providing students with an opportunity to showcase their work.
Saskatchewan Telecommunications Holding Corp. (SaskTel), Regina. Telecommunications; 3,147 employees. Created the SaskTel YouthNetwork program, providing long- and short-term strategies to improve employment challenges facing youth and to encourage them to pursue technology-based postsecondary education.
SaskPower, Regina. Hydroelectric power generation; 3,394 employees. Manages the SaskPower Youth Network, a resource group for employees under 29.
Shell Canada Ltd., Calgary. Oil and gas extraction; 9,194 employees. Developing a dedicated power engineering program to help employees achieve 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st Class certification.
Siemens Canada Ltd., Oakville, Ont. Engineering services; 4,967 employees. Organizes sessions in which young employees teach senior-level staff social media best practices through hands-on interactive learning.
Sodexo Canada Ltd., Burlington, Ont. Food service contractors; 5,945 employees. Offers paid internships and co-op placements and hires promising participants into full-time entry-level management positions.
Sun Life Financial Inc., Toronto. Insurance; 8,607 employees. Manages a rotational leadership development program that provides an opportunity for young employees to work in three roles over three years.
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto. Hospitals; 5,721 employees. Accepts up to 75 high-school students annually to work as part of Sunnybrook's experiential learning co-op program.
Surrey, City of, Surrey, B.C. Municipal government; 1,774 employees. Created a future leaders program to help young people between 14 and 21 develop the skills and knowledge to become successful recreation leaders.
Tata Consultancy Services Canada Inc., Mississauga. Computer systems design; 2,215 employees. Hosts the CodeVita national competition for engineering and science students to hone and showcase their programming skills.
Telus Corp., Vancouver. Telecommunications; 24,241 employees. Created the Telus Innovation Challenge, a nationwide internal business case competition for employees in the leadership development program.
Tetra Tech EBA Inc., Edmonton. Engineering; 613 employees. Offers paid internships with a variety of job duties, such as field work of materials testing, junior project management and research.
University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver. Universities; 10,524 employees. Provides a variety of in-house training programs, such as the award-winning Coaching@UBC initiative.
Unilever Canada Inc., Toronto. Consumer product manufacturing; 1,343 employees. Holds "fireside chats" wherein Unilever vice-presidents meet entry-level employees.
Vision Critical Communications Inc., Vancouver. Custom computer programming; 485 employees. Created the year-long Excel Internship program for new university graduates seeking work experience.
Whistler Blackcomb, Whistler, B.C. Skiing and resort operations; 2,987 employees. Offers in-house apprenticeship and skilled trades training.
Xerox Canada Inc., Toronto. Computer equipment manufacturing; 3,061 employees. Manages Global Careers @Xerox, an online resource to global career opportunities at the company.
YMCA of Greater Toronto, Toronto. Individual and family services; 1,528 employees. Organizes conferences for young employees and volunteers between 19 and 29 to participate in local and international events.