Capturing Gen Z's values is key for Canada's Top Employers for Young People 2022
Canada's Top Employers for Young People 2022, selected by Mediacorp Canada Inc., are ready to welcome Gen Z with the programs and support this group needs to succeed -- from co-op placements and internships to mentoring and leadership development.
Most often defined as born between 1997 and 2012, the Generation Z cohort is rapidly moving into the workplace -- a workplace these workers may be physically entering for the first time this year. As they've graduated from universities and colleges during the pandemic, they've mostly been onboarded virtually and have worked remotely at their new jobs, getting to know colleagues on-screen rather than in-person.
While that's not a challenge for these digital natives who have grown up in an internet environment (and who will continue to expect flexibility in where and how they work), opportunities for social interaction are still very important for this group. But that's not all.
This generation wants to make a difference in the world and looks for employers whose values align with their own. Not hesitant about asking questions, Gen Z expects employers to be accountable when it comes to corporate values and policies, particularly on issues like sustainability and diversity, equity and inclusion. They're also vocal when it comes to ongoing learning opportunities and fast-tracking their own careers.
The winners of Canada's Top Employers for Young People 2022 by Mediacorp are listening and responding with numerous progressive initiatives, such as Labatt Breweries' new Leadership Accelerator program for early-career professionals, or rotational programs that allow participants to experience different areas of the business, such as Emera's three-year rotational engineer-in-training program.
Competition for young talent is more heated than ever, so for employers to attract and retain the best, they need to deliver on what this generation wants. These winning organizations are the ones to study and learn from.
– Diane Jermyn
This story appeared in the official announcement for Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2022), published on January 18, 2022. All rights reserved.
- ABB Canada
- Aboriginal Peoples Television Network Inc. / APTN
- Accenture Inc.
- AIG Insurance Company of Canada
- AMD / Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
- ArcelorMittal Dofasco G.P.
- Arup Canada Inc.
- ATCO Ltd.
- Ausenco Engineering Canada Inc.
- BC Hydro
- BC Public Service
- Bell Canada
- Bennett Jones LLP
- BlackBerry Limited
- Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
- Bold Commerce
- Boston Consulting Group Canada ULC
- Bruce Power LP
- CAE Inc.
- Canada Revenue Agency / CRA
- Canadian Tire Corporation Limited
- Capital One Canada
- CGI Inc.
- Citi Canada
- CoLab Software Inc.
- Communications Security Establishment / CSE
- Corus Entertainment Inc.
- CSL Group Inc.
- D2L Corporation
- Dentons Canada LLP
- Department of Finance Canada
- Desjardins Group / Mouvement Desjardins
- Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc.
- DLA Piper (Canada) LLP
- Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc
- Edmonton, City of
- Emera Inc.
- Employment and Social Development Canada
- EPCOR Utilities Inc.
- Export Development Canada
- Fidelity Canada
- Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard
- FL Fuller Landau LLP
- Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited
- Geotab Inc.
- Giants & Gentlemen Advertising Inc.
- Hamilton Health Sciences
- Hatch Ltd.
- Health Canada / Santé Canada
- Henkel Canada Corporation
- Hospital for Sick Children, The
- Northwestel Inc.
- Nunavut, Government of
- Nutrien Inc.
- OpenText Corporation
- PCL Construction
- PepsiCo Canada
- Perkins&Will Canada Architects Co.
- Pfizer Canada ULC
- Pharmascience Inc.
- Procter & Gamble Inc.
- Prophix Software Inc.
- Providence Health Care
- Royal Bank of Canada
- Samsung Electronics Canada Inc.
- SAP Canada Inc.
- Schneider Electric Canada Inc.
- Siemens Canada Limited
- Sinai Health
- Slalom ULC
- Stanley Black & Decker Canada Corp.
- Statistics Canada
- Surrey, City of
The Impact Generation
Canada's Top Employers for Young People are working hard to attract a highly idealistic cohort
It's no easy thing to be a young job-seeker at the moment. On the one hand, the world is still wrestling with an enduring pandemic, throwing employers and workplaces into uncertainty. On the other hand, Canada's unemployment rate has been plummeting, enhancing opportunities across the country -- especially at Canada's Top Employers for Young People.
In that kind of environment -- featuring both anxiety and optimism -- sometimes it's best to stay grounded. "Within the context of the pandemic," says Kristina Leung, senior editor for Mediacorp Canada, which runs the competition, "I think a lot of young people might actually be looking for some stability and a little bit of structure to their day-to-day. They want to see what opportunities are available long-term at an organization, to try to understand how they can grow with the organization as well."
And truly, most employers feel the same way. To encourage new recruits to stay with them for the long haul, Top Employers have a wide range of internship, mentoring, training and development programs. During the pandemic, Leung notes, they have doubled down on converting meetings and social events to the virtual environment, making them as enjoyable as possible. For nearly two years now, new hires have been onboarded at many organizations entirely online. Many employees have yet to meet their co-workers in the flesh, so companies have dreamed up online games, business challenges or virtual volunteering to keep them feeling connected and engaged.
On the other hand, there is that expanding job market, which means young people have a lot of options to choose from. So along with stability, what is driving them to choose one employer in their field over another?
"Definitely social impact," says Mediacorp assistant editor Stephanie Leung. "In reviewing this year's applications, I could see that employers were weaving social impact into their programs. It could be having a project like brainstorming solutions to a social problem, or a co-op experience that would benefit a nonprofit and have a positive impact on communities."
Employers, too, are stressing the measures and outreach they are making to expand equity, diversity and inclusion in their workplaces as well as reduce their carbon footprint . "It involves the organization being a good global citizen," she says. "The younger generation is very intuitive about that, and they will notice if a company's statements are not backed up by action."
The current generation of interns and new graduates -- usually known as Gen Z and born from 1997 onward -- is often considered among the most idealistic since the Boomers of the late 1960s. "Gen Z wants to make the world a better place -- healthier and more equitable," says Kathryn Kitchen, head of human resources, Canada, for Manulife. "They're very socially conscious, which is expressed more loudly than what we've seen in previous generations."
Coupled with employees' ability to job hop in a rising economy, that means employers have to work hard to continually engage young people. "They want to be challenged," says Lisa Del Signore, a senior manager in human resources at Montréal-based Pfizer Canada. "Teamwork is extremely important to them -- they like to be part of a cross-functional team, collaborate, interact. They like to learn -- they're very, very curious. And they're not shy of expressing themselves, or volunteering for projects and opportunities."
Moreover, those projects and opportunities must suit their interests, she says. "If they get bored or demotivated in a certain role, they won't wait around for the next role. So we need to constantly have conversations with them about growth and development, in order to identify what drives them, and be able to fuel that for them."
As examples, the engineering firm Mott MacDonald holds Early Career Professional week to bring together young employees from across the organization to connect and celebrate their contributions through webinars, virtual discussions and competitions. Stanley Black & Decker Canada manages a Social Impact Fellowship for graduates of its leadership program, which features multi-week placements with a charitable organization that aligns with the company's purpose and values.
To Kristina Leung, keeping employees feeling connected is essential. "In the pandemic, you feel connected and not connected, " she notes. "So the rotational programs that many organizations have, in which people move through various parts of the business and get a sense of the whole picture, really build a strong connection with the organization."
But above all, she says, new recruits want to feel that what they are doing is needed. "Young people are contemplating, is this a job I'm passionate about? Is this a culture that I want to be a part of, and is this employment relationship going to compensate me in a way beyond pay and traditional benefits? They want to feel that the work that they do is meaningful, and that there's an impact."