In January, Forbes ranked the best employers in Canada. Among the top 100 were many big named companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Starbucks, and Nike. However, even these giants were out-ranked, but some unexpected institutes in one particular industry: Canadian Universities (Education Industry). Aside from Cisco, which ranked first, Google is the highest-ranked tech giant at 16th place in this year’s list. Beating Google for the best employer are companies like Coca Cola, Four Seasons Resort, and six Canadian Education Institutes: University of Guelph (4), University of Toronto (5), Laval University (9), Queen’s University(11), University of Victoria (12), and Sheridan College (14).
So why are Canadian Education Institutes ranked so high in terms of best employers?
Canadian Universities are great at supporting their employees’ work-life balance. They provide at least five paid personal days a year in addition to four weeks of vacation times within the first five years and five weeks of vacation time after five years on the job. Furthermore, Canadian Universities provide excellent maternity and/or paternity leave options for their employees. Its top-up payments are up to 70% for new mothers!
According to Martha Harley, at University of Guelph in particular, people can feel a sense of belonging and recognition. During the Pandemic, Guelph University launched a daily gratitude challenge named “Gee, Thanks,” where employees are encouraged to share good deeds, small appreciations, and positive energy via a virtual kudos board. Each month, an employee would be rewarded with a prize for doing the most good.
University Toronto (ranked 5th) stated that it keeps its employees satisfied by attracting, retaining, and engaging its workforce through various intentionally inclusive, diverse, and equitable initiatives. These initiatives are aimed to support its employees’ needs at various stages in life and their careers. The University of Toronto prides itself on providing equitable compensation, generous parental leaves, childcare benefits, tuition waivers, and phased retirement. Similar to the University of Guelph, the University of Toronto has an online platform called the True Blue Recognition Platform. It is a space where fellow peers can informally recognize each other for small victories and accomplishments!
Many of us forget that Universities are often quite similar to corporations. Often, they have their own finance department, HR department, Marketing department, and tech department. So how are they able to so consistently rank as the best employers? Perhaps it’s because, unlike Corporations, Universities’ purpose is not to solely profit but to provide the best education and learning experience for the minds of tomorrow. It runs on an academic schedule that provides its employees with sufficient rest. Lastly, perhaps the University setting itself eliminates some of the stress and anxiety that comes with the nature of a traditional corporation.