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Canada's Top Employers
for Young People (2024)
Winners from our 22nd annual editorial competition
This year marks the 22nd edition of Canada's Top Employers for Young People, an annual competition organized by the editors of the Canada's Top 100 Employers project. (Photo: RgStudio/Getty)
two employees enjoying an outdoor workplace celebration
Manulife offers new grads an extensive co-op program with opportunities to volunteer, network, participate in international assignments, and connect with the company's executives.

About the Competition


First published in 2002, Canada's Top Employers for Young People is an editorial competition organized by the Canada's Top 100 Employers project. Canada's Top Employers for Young People This special designation recognizes the employers that offer the nation's best workplaces and programs for young people just starting their careers. The employers on this list are Canada's leaders in attracting and retaining younger employees to their organizations. Before 2007, this competition was published annually as an appendix to our Canada's Top 100 Employers paperback. This year's winners were announced on January 23, 2024 in a special magazine distributed online by The Globe and Mail. Read the press release issued the same day for more background on this year's competition.

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Manulife offers new grads an extensive co-op program with opportunities to volunteer, network, participate in international assignments, and connect with the company's executives.

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Participants in the co-op program at Capital One Canada end the term with a presentation on a project to executives.

Selection Process

Each employer is evaluated by the editors of Canada's Top 100 Employers in terms of the programs they have to attract and retain younger workers. These include benefits such as tuition assistance and the availability of co-op or work-study programs. Our editors also examine each employer's mentorship and training programs, including benefits such as bonuses paid when employees complete certain courses or professional designations. We also review each employer's career management programs, looking for initiatives that can assist younger workers advance faster in the organization. Lastly, our editors also look at the average age of employees at each employer to better understand the composition and profile of their workforce.

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Participants in the co-op program at Capital One Canada end the term with a presentation on a project to executives.

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Recent grads at Labatt can take part in a new 10-month craft trainee program, with rotations in brewing and distilling, supply chain and logistics, and commercial operations.

Reasons for Selection

Each year, the winners are announced in a special magazine distributed online in The Globe and Mail, which is our media sponsor on the competition. For our editors' detailed reasons for selection, please review the full list of winners below. Publishing detailed reasons for selection is a distinguishing feature of our competition: it provides transparency in the selection of winners and 'raises the bar' so that other employers can discover and adopt initiatives that work well elsewhere.

Eligibility Requirements

Any employer with its head office or principal place of business in Canada may apply for Canada's Top Employers for Young People. Employers of any size may apply, whether private or public sector.

2025 Competition

Applications for our 2025 competition will be available early in 2024. Our 2025 winners will be announced in a special magazine early in 2025. Join our mailing list to stay up to date and receive an application for next year's competition for your organization.

Students and new graduates at video game publisher Ubisoft Canadian Studios are paired with a mentor to provide focused one-on-one support towards career development.
Students and new graduates at video game publisher Ubisoft Canadian Studios are paired with a mentor to provide focused one-on-one support towards career development.


The new kids are here and they're all grown up

As the latest wave of Generation Z adults (born after 1996) arrives in the workplace, Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2024) are focused on creating the kind of environment that resonates with this talented cohort. Considering Gen Z is expected to make up 30 per cent of workers by 2030, that's critical for any organization wishing to attract and retain the best.

And what does Gen Z want from an employer?

Values are a great place to start because above all, Gen Zs want to work for companies whose values align with their own so that work has a higher purpose beyond just earning a (competitive) salary. With 20 per cent of open roles targeted for new graduates, BlackBerry Ltd. in Waterloo, Ontario, hires hundreds of students each year in paid positions ranging from four to 12-month contracts. The company's chief human resources officer, Nita White-Ivy, sees directly how Gen Z wants to contribute towards making the world a better place.

"Gen Z is the first generation to grow up in this increasingly connected world," says White-Ivy. "The modern-day smartphone was likely already in their parents' hands when they were born - thanks to BlackBerry. Their baby pictures were likely posted on social media, and they attended school remotely, while entertainment, social interaction and even dating were completely transformed by technology. They've lived their whole lives in a connected world and see its power.

"They also see when it goes wrong and how bad actors can negatively impact people's lives through cyberattacks and data breaches. That's where BlackBerry comes in. We're at the forefront of creating a secure and connected world, a mission we know our young employees proudly support."

White-Ivy says questions from Gen Z candidates are targeted around understanding the company's culture and making sure they'd be contributing to meaningful and impactful work. On the culture side, the questions are about work-life balance, work arrangement flexibility and company social events. On the work side, it's about specific projects, the level of collaboration between teams and the opportunities available for development and growth.

"We see that Gen Zs want organizations to support them on their career journey and to know that the organization cares as much about their career development as they do," says White-Ivy. "Our Gen Zs tend to be more vocal and self-advocate for their career growth. They are curious and continuous learners who've grown up in a time where information on almost anything was readily accessible to them.

"We want to meet our learners where they're at and how they're most comfortable learning. Our programs are designed to do just that - to be accessible to our employees wherever they are in their career journey and support them along the way."

A recent LinkedIn Employee Well-being Report put opportunities to learn and grow as number one on what Gen Z wants in an organization's culture. Ubisoft Canadian Studios starts the learning process with Warmup - a nine-week onboarding program that includes hard and soft skills training as well as culture orientation. All students and new grads are also paired with a mentor to provide one-on-one support on career development.

Louis-Pierre Sarrazin, director of talent development and organizational evolution at Ubisoft Montréal, says graduate students enter Warmup based on their programming expertise and their interest in working for Ubisoft, a leader in global game development. They're not selected outright for a specific position in a specific team.

"It's only after they've gone through the Warmup experience that they're placed in a team," says Sarrazin. "By then, the employee and the organization have had the opportunity to better understand the employee's strengths and identify the available opportunities that are best aligned for their profile and aspirations."

Sarrazin says the program aims to create an environment where it's safe to make mistakes and learn - without interference from performance objectives.

"It's a question of focus," says Sarrazin. "By allowing graduate students to invest 100 per cent in their development during their first nine weeks, we ensure that we create the best conditions for success for the rest of their journey.

"We also explain how to address different situations in the workplace, what to expect from others, what will be expected of them and to promote the kind of mindset that leads to success and growth - like how to react and leverage tough feedback. By being better prepared to address some of the most defining moments of an early career, we provide the key ingredients to reduce anxiety and increase resilience."

Alan Bouchard, director of people and culture at Aboriginal Peoples Television Network Inc. (APTN) in Winnipeg, says Gen Z isn't afraid to talk about their mental health, which has helped reduce the stigmatization around it. He says APTN offers excellent benefits for psychological services, including a new benefit they're introducing for intermediate and long-term care.

"We have to be trauma-informed and approach everything with the spirit of truth," says Bouchard. "I am Métis so I feel it and hear it and understand where our young folks are coming from after over 400 years of loss and colonization.

Our elders tell us that we need to think seven generations ahead and we're still on that path of healing and recovery, so there is an added layer of support and understanding that has to come in when we're working with Indigenous individuals."

In the recruiting process, Bouchard says candidates typically ask about workplace culture. Flexibility is a big issue, especially after the pandemic. Currently, APTN requires folks to come into the office two days per week, which most candidates are happy to hear. More critically, they want to ensure that they're going into a workplace that is caring and going to meet their needs.

"This generation is very culturally aware," says Bouchard. "They know about equity, diversity and inclusion and that's very important to them. They really want people to be treated fairly and consistently.

"We hear a lot of Gen Zs say, I want to do a 'vibe check' -- that's their vernacular - when they're questioning us about our culture. What am I walking into? Candidates want to know who they're going to be dealing with on a day-to-day basis and if that's going to be a good personal fit."

He's also noticed that Gen Z will leave an organization quickly and abruptly if they're not happy, especially if an organization isn't meeting their needs.

"Because they're a very fast-paced generation, they want to keep moving and trying new things," says Bouchard. "If they see an opportunity, they're going to go for it. That makes things a lot trickier for employers because we want to retain."

With respect to learning and development, the younger generation wants things to be online, interactive, entertaining, technical, fast-paced but also fun.

"Gen Z doesn't see learning as a one-shot deal," says Bouchard. "It's almost like scrolling on TikTok. They want it quick, easy and repetitively. While they want corporate training, they don't want lengthy full-day sessions. In reality, we can probably get a good chunk done in one or two hours, so that's where I'm going forward with our training. They're telling me, just give me the information - be brief, be bright.

"What they want is reasonable. They're bringing a lot of value with their perspective."

2024 Winners

Here are the 2024 winners of the Canada's Top Employers for Young People competition. Click an employer name to read our editors' full Reasons for Selection:

man pulling blue trolley in a warehouse
Dentons Canada offers new graduates a dedicated student curriculum with coaching from senior leaders and learning seminars to build their legal skills.
Fidelity Canada provides tuition assistance to new hires who graduated in the previous year, ranging from $500 to $1,500.
Fidelity Canada provides tuition assistance to new hires who graduated in the previous year, ranging from $500 to $1,500.

Times of Uncertainty

Canada's Top Employers for Young People are providing more support than ever for employees who've been through a lot for their age

In the 1960s, they sang, "It's wonderful to be young" and in the 2010s it was, "We are young, so let's set the world on fire" by the band appropriately named Fun. In any era, this is supposed to be a great, maybe the greatest, time of life. But if you talk to some of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2024), they're only too aware of the stresses affecting young people today.

"Many of this year's winners have done a really good job of acknowledging and responding to the conditions that a lot of young people are facing nowadays," says Chantel Watkins, assistant editor for Mediacorp Canada, which runs the competition. "There's a lot of uncertainty for younger folks. Will they ever be able to own a home? Will they find a full-time career amid a looming possible recession? Will they be able to form relationships with colleagues and peers when they're working in new kinds of hybrid and remote conditions? There are a lot of big questions."

Employers, she says, are responding with a range of practical measures. "We've seen an increase in perks and opportunities that young people really value – for example, soft skills and personal skills development, so things like financial literacy courses, lessons on forming relationships in the workplace, a focus on mentorship, and an emphasis on mental health support. And there are extra resources, like student loan repayment assistance."

She notes that Top Employers have always had a baseline of strong support in their perks and policies. "So they are really thinking about how they can take it to the next level and offer things that are above and beyond the baseline and will really help them to attract and retain employees."

Kristina Leung, managing editor for Mediacorp Canada, says there is a stronger emphasis by employers on boosting the sense of community and culture that ultimately supports employee retention. "It's a scarier time for young people," she says. "A lot were in school remotely, and some spent their initial employment years working from home. The social skills and sense of community that more experienced people are used to – they may not have that. Employers are trying to create kind of a soft landing, making them feel comfortable."

Leila Wong, chief human resources officer for Toronto-based global tech giant Celestica Inc., notes that the days of working til midnight are fading for Generation Z, born in 1997 or later. "This generation will work hard, but they want to work smarter, and they want to be able to have a healthy work environment," she says. "We're all recognizing that mental health support is an important aspect of the entire benefit offerings. Companies need to get ahead of that curve, making sure that people don't over-rotate on work and that they're providing a balance – with work-life, child care, elder care, everything that goes along with life."

Wong admires the current generation for what it offers. "I think the Gen Zs are super resourceful. They're very social media savvy, so companies have to be mindful of that. And this new workforce wants meaningful work. I don't think they're looking for a job to make a dollar. Obviously, compensation is important, but I think that meaningful work, having a mission, understanding their impact on society, is really an important thing for Gen Z."

At southwestern Ontario's largest health complex, Hamilton Health Sciences, the new generation's set of needs and wants is readily apparent to Aaron Levo, vice president of people, culture and communications. And it's a very progressive list.

"They're asking us about how our teams collaborate, what kinds of advancement opportunities and development opportunities there are for them, do we offer hybrid, flexible and remote work environments? Do we prioritize wellness? Do we take time to celebrate the things that we accomplished together as an organization?

"Individuals are evaluating their relationship with their employer," says Levo, "and they're asking for work that is meaningful, that is acknowledging them as a human that has attachments to family and community. How is the employer thinking about them holistically?"

They see it in the federal government, too. Sonia Côté, assistant commissioner of the human resources branch at the Canada Revenue Agency, adds another important word: authenticity.

"It is crucial that our recruitment messaging when interacting with any candidate is authentic and transparent of the expected employee experience and what it is like to work in our organization," she says. "Young people today are more connected than ever, and false promises and negative experiences can lead to a poor perception of the organization as an employer and to the loss of talent."

Mediacorp's Leung seconds that thought. "It's not always the job itself," she says. "A factor in how long someone stays is, do I like the people? Do I have peers? Do I have connection? Do I have a community?"

Answering all these questions successfully is what makes a Top Employer.

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