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Banks as Employers

Last modified: 12 March 2014
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Fast facts

  • Canada’s banks employ 275,280 Canadians
  • Full-time bank employment has increased 25.4% over the past ten years
  • Canadian banks also employ 108,740 people in other countries

The bottom line

More than a quarter of a million Canadians are bank employees. Banks and their subsidiaries contribute significantly to job creation and to Canada’s labour market and many of the banks’ human resources policies and practices are at the leading edge.


Employment trends

Technology, competition and globalization continue to be major drivers of jobs in the banking industry. New technologies have resulted in the replacement of many routine transaction-based jobs with knowledge-intensive positions. These new jobs focus on building in-depth, value-added customer relationships. In keeping with this trend, banks are recruiting employees with higher education or skill levels. Existing employees are given opportunities to upgrade their skills through ongoing training and education. Recent growth areas have included corporate governance, investment advisory services and retail delivery.

Both the quality and the number of jobs are consistently high in the banking industry. Full-time jobs reached 79.6%, the highest it has been in the past 17 years.

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Payroll taxes and employee benefits

Banks and their subsidiaries paid an estimated $20.8 billion in salaries and benefits in Canada in 2012.1 And Canada’s six largest banks paid $1.1 billion in payroll taxes for that year, including Employment Insurance, CPP and QPP premiums, and Employer Health Tax (where applicable). Banks also offer comprehensive benefit programs and pension plans to all employees who qualify, including those who work part-time. A wide range of support services is available to all employees, including employee assistance programs, career counselling, flexible work options, other assistance for balancing employees’ evolving work/life obligations and training programs.

Training and development

Canada’s banks are leaders in professional development. As part of their commitment to continuous learning, banks offer employees an array of educational programs through traditional and electronic channels. Courses vary from bank to bank, but may include sales and service, risk, ethics, corporate values, information technology and management and leadership skills.

Indirect contributions to employment

The banking industry is a major purchaser of goods and services from outside suppliers, spending $16 billion in 2012.

Diversity and inclusion

The banks proactively support and foster diversity and inclusion in their workforces. They actively promote youth employment by recruiting young Canadians and by participating in or sponsoring programs that encourage youth employment such as educational co-ops, internships, entrepreneurial and stay-in-school programs and offering scholarships. At the same time increasing numbers of older bank employees are choosing to continue working past the ages of 60 or 65.

Banks are also making special efforts to help new immigrants adjust to Canada and find jobs. Some banks have dedicated staff; others are working with outside organizations; all with a view to helping newcomers generally and, more specifically, helping them find jobs within the industry.

Employment equity

Banks were among the first organizations to grasp the long-term demographic and labour market significance of Canada’s Employment Equity Act in addition to its human rights aspects. They quickly became leaders in the ongoing effort to build representative workforces and were the first to articulate a business case for equity and diversity at work. The law requires federally regulated employers to collect annual data on four designated groups (see below) although the banks support broader concepts of diversity and inclusiveness.


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Women

As of 2012, women constitute 64.3 per cent (133,059) of the workforce at Canada’s six largest banks (excluding subsidiaries), substantially more than any other federally regulated sector. Women occupied 32.7 per cent of senior management positions and 52.5 per cent of all middle management positions, exceeding the government’s benchmarks at both levels. In total, 51 per cent of all professional jobs in banks are held by women.

Visible minorities

Representation by people in visible minorities reached 27.4 per cent in 2012 accounting for 11.1 per cent of all senior management positions; 23.78 per cent of all middle management jobs, and 31.9 per cent of all professional positions. These numbers substantially exceed those in the external labour force (the government’s benchmark). They also exceed representation of visible minorities in the other federally regulated industries and in the federal public sector.

People with disabilities

Representation of people with disabilities in the large six banks increased to 3.9 per cent in 2012. The banks continue to work on initiatives to promote and sustain employment of people with disabilities in order to reach the benchmark of 4.9 per cent.

Aboriginal people

In 2012, the six banks employed 2,705 Aboriginal people, an increase of 0.8 per cent over 2011 although the representation level remained steady. This is another group with whom banks are making special efforts to increase representation and advancement.