Did you know that banks in Canada employ more than 280,000 people? Whether it’s a small local credit union or one of the Big Five, the banking industry and its employees are a massive force in the Canadian economy.
But obviously, not all workplaces are created equally. I saw this first-hand in my experiences working in the banking sector, and I think many of us can agree that there is much more to work than just your salary.
So, which five banks in Canada are the best to work for?
Today’s list will cover some of the leading employers in the Canadian banking sector and highlight what they do best by drawing from employee reviews and external workplace audits.
Best Banks to Work for in Canada
Things such as company culture, management practices, diversity and inclusion and work-life balance are all important when it comes to applying for and accepting jobs. The following banks are exceptional when it comes to these metrics.
1. Royal Bank of Canada (RBC): Best Overall
RBC is the biggest bank in Canada by revenue and market capitalization. It is also consistently ranked as one of the best banks in Canada to work for, both by employees and external auditing parties.
They employ more than 85,000 employees worldwide and have more than $1 trillion in assets under administration.
Based on our research on job sites such as Glassdoor and Canadian employer reports such as Canada’s Top 100 Employers, some of the best parts about working for RBC are that they are an incredibly diverse company focused on:
- Financial benefits and compensation,
- Employee engagement and training,
- Fental health, and
- A comfortable physical workplace.
They also have several initiatives in place that aim to break the “no experience, no job” cycle and are recognized as one of the best Canadian employers for young people in 2022.
LinkedIn, the business and employment-oriented online social media service, also ranked RBC as the best company to work for in Canada for 2021.
On the flip side, however, some existing and past employees agree that branch and customer service staff are underpaid in this company.
If you are just starting your career in the banking industry or are a customer care rep, you might be better off applying for a Living Wage employer such as Vancity.
Otherwise, RBC is a great bank to work for to be compensated well and valued for your efforts.
2. TD Canada Trust: Best for Change Management
TD was ranked the second-best company to work for in Canada in LinkedIn’s Top Companies 2021 list.
Some of their standout actions are committing to no job losses in 2020 due to the pandemic, providing staff with financial and logistical support while adapting to changing needs of the business, and committing to green initiatives.
Many former and current employees agree that the company also provides a good salary and an extensive benefits package.
Nevertheless, some also say that good management and leadership lack in certain departments, so make sure you’re asking lots of questions during the interview process.
3. Vancity: Best for Paying a Living Wage and Starting Level Positions
Although they only operate in British Columbia, Vancity is Canada’s biggest community credit union and has more than 3,000 employees in the province.
They’ve made this list because they’re also Canada’s largest Living Wage employer, meaning the starting pay at the company is an amount that people can actually live comfortably on.
None of the Canadian Big Banks have committed to becoming Living Wage employers, although they make millions of dollars each year.
As such, we would recommend Vancity or any other smaller bank or credit union openly talking about and paying a living wage in Canada.
This is specifically important for starting-level positions such as teller jobs and customer care positions.
Vancity has also been voted a top employer in BC and Canada several times, including by The Georgia Straight, Corporate Knights, and Forbes.
4. Bank of Canada: Best for Diversity and Inclusion
Bank of Canada is a Crown corporation and Canada’s central bank. Although they are not a retail bank like the others on this list, Bank of Canada is a fantastic place to work.
They’ve even been named as one of the winners of Canada’s Top 100 Employers in 2022.
Although great for many reasons, the Bank of Canada is mostly recognized for its diversity and inclusion.
They have several scholarships and work placement programs for women, new grads, minorities, and Indigenous peoples, as well as goals in place to up the diversity of their senior-level staff and guides for supporting LGBTQ+ employees.
Their starting salary is also significantly higher than those at retail banks, which is a big bonus.
5. Desjardins Group: Best for Work-Life Balance and a Young Working Environment
Desjardins Group is a cooperative financial institution and the largest federation of credit unions in North America. Headquartered in Quebec, they have more than 50,000 employees and nearly $300 billion in assets under administration.
According to Glassdoor, more than 90% of Desjardins’ employees approve of the company’s CEO, and more than 85% would recommend working there to a friend.
Many also speak positively to the work-life balance that the company provides, which is hard to come by.
The company’s efforts towards the inclusion of young employees are also worth noting here.
Canada’s Top 100 Employers list recognizes Desjardins as one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People and highlights both their Young Intern Director program as well as their Young Executives Network for managers under 35.
Apart from these benefits, do note that many current and former employees report that there is a strong preference towards the French language within the company, specifically because they are founded and headquartered in Quebec.
It is certainly not impossible to be employed by them if you only speak English, but keep in mind that it may be difficult, and many of your colleagues may communicate with one another in French.
How much you get paid by Canadian banks will depend highly on your position.
For instance, Big Banks such as RBC, TD, BMO, CIBC and Scotiabank pay very well for executive and managerial roles, including big bonuses totalling millions of dollars each year.
However, these companies pay very close to the minimum wage for their branch staff, customer care representatives, and other starting-level roles.
Many smaller banks and credit unions, on the other hand, are committed to paying a living wage and start their branch and customer care staff at around $21-$23 per hour.
As such, how much you can get paid will depend on your ranking within the company.
The general rule of thumb is that the more people you manage or, the more financial risk you deal with for a bank, the higher your compensation.
These roles include director and management roles, as well as positions in risk analysis and investment banking.
Fun fact: TD’s CEO got paid nearly $9 million in bonuses (i.e. cash bonuses, stock options, and others) in addition to his $1.45 million salaries in 2020. So, yes, a lot of room for growth if you can make it to senior or executive positions!
Banking is definitely a good career option in Canada, especially because it continues to prove to be a very safe and stable sector in the Canadian economy.
Working for a bank can provide you with a lot of room for growth, learning, and good compensation opportunities, regardless of your position.
Even with the push towards the digital, brick-and-mortar banks are unlikely to be made obsolete in the upcoming years, despite having to shift to meet the market’s changing needs.
Thus, opting for a career in banking can likely provide you with stable employment for the rest of your working years.
RBC, TD, Vancity, Bank of Canada, and Desjardins make up the list of some of the best banks to work for in Canada.
I know everybody’s experiences in finding a career that’s right for them will differ. We all have different expectations, desires, and needs when it comes to finding and settling in a job.
Although banking is a stable option, it’s completely okay if it doesn’t feel right for you. Wherever you may be headed, here are nine simple steps you can take now to figure out what career step to take next.