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It’s no secret – pay is often a key motivator during a job search, especially in today’s economy. With higher interest rates and inflation, a competitive salary tops the list for job seekers. But other factors are gaining importance too, and these four considerations can have big payoffs.

1. Relevant benefits for the real world

Gone are the days of free snacks and a ping-pong table as reasons to work somewhere. The pandemic flipped the script on what’s important to employees. Today, Canadian employees say they’re looking for meaningful support in work and life.

At the top of the list? A flexible benefits plan that meets their needs in whatever life-stage they may be at, explains David Schwarz who leads Compensations and Benefits at RBC. He says employees value premium offerings that support mental wellbeing, physical health and financial planning.

“Companies that provide a modern and comprehensive benefits experience help support employees in the moments that matter during their career, whether the employee is just beginning or nearing retirement,” Schwarz explains.

For instance, RBC enhanced family planning benefits for fertility, surrogacy, and adoption services in 2022. The organization also increased contributions to the Canadian Defined Contribution Pension Plan to help employees establish and grow their savings.

Short-term financial goals are important, too. Nicholas Mizera reduced his monthly bills by about $250 through discounts and savings available to RBC employees. He took advantage of employee pricing on telecom plans, home and auto insurance and a credit card that paid for its annual fee in rewards points.

“A few phone calls and emails is all it took to save,” he explains. “I rest a little easier at night and I don’t have to hesitate to say “yes” to my three-year-old daughter’s latest book or toy request. And that’s a great feeling.”
On the flip side, feelings of stress often peak during tough economic times, as they did during the pandemic. In response, many companies added resources and programs to support their people’s well-being. In Canada, home to more than 70 per cent of RBC’s global employees, the bank increased reimbursement for psychological services. RBC also expanded the list of eligible practitioners beyond psychologists and social workers, including psychotherapists and marriage counsellors.

Those changes are making a difference for employees. Jeremy A. (last name withheld for privacy) says RBC’s mental health benefits helped his family. “They’ve covered what would’ve been expensive mental health assessments in school for my daughter to allow for a personalized learning plan, and now she’s thriving,” he says.

2. Work where you can be you


Intangible benefits can positively affect the workplace experience too – like feelings of acceptance and belonging.

One way RBC encourages a sense of belonging is through employee resource groups (ERGs). More than 32,000 employees participate in groups centered common identities, characteristics or interests. ERGs make it easier for team members to find their crew and engage with issues that matter to them inside and outside of work.

Kaelan Karjalainen found her crew as an active volunteer with the Greater Toronto Area Pride ERG.

“The ERG has allowed me to bring my big ideas to life through support of the 2SLGBTQ+ community,” Kaelan says. “My team has facilitated countless employee engagement events including marching in multiple Toronto Pride Parades, fundraising events for National Coming Out Day, and several virtual Pride celebrations throughout the pandemic.”

3. Making an impact


The majority of our days are often devoted to work, so employees want that time to be meaningful especially millennials and Gen Z. Great Place to Work data shows these generations feel especially strong about doing work that matters to them – in fact they are three times as likely to stay with a company if they do.

Ashley Tidd is a mortgage specialist at RBC. Her role, she says, allows her to play an important part in helping clients and families with a major milestone.

“A home is often one of the biggest purchases of their lives and throughout the mortgage process I really get to know them,” Ashley explains. “Being able to help clients achieve a lifelong goal of owning a home is so rewarding.”

Opportunities to make an impact can also happen in communities. Employees are more likely to look for work at socially responsible organizations, like those with a charitable giving program according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

Beverley Page says helping others is a big part of her life and she appreciate companies that align with her values.

“RBC gives me opportunities to give back to the community and reinforces my spirit of giving in many ways I would never be able to on my own,” she says. “Giving is important to me and at RBC I can do that.”

4. Learning something new

A new job brings the opportunity to learn, grow and try new things and today’s job seekers want to work where that mindset is encouraged.

Erin Corstorphine knows how valuable on-the-job learning can be, whether it’s formal or informal. She started at RBC in 2012, transitioning from the radically different field of commercial theater. When she decided theater wasn’t the right fit for a stable family life, she came to RBC as a banking advisor and learned about finances along the way. After a few years, a mentor encouraged her to explore a Relationship Manager role supporting commercial businesses. At first Erin hesitated because she didn’t have a business or finance degree but that didn’t stop her.

“Instead of dwelling on the knowledge I needed,” she explains, “I focused on what transferable skills I had outside of the financial industry, like people skills that are critical in this client-facing role. In turn, RBC supported me with a training program that helped me finetune my financial acumen.”

Lisa Melo leads Learning and Performance at RBC and says Erin’s experience is a great example of RBC’s commitment to skill development and continuous learning. “The experience and degrees that job seekers bring to the table are important,” she explains, “but so are the skills they can develop along the way. We want to empower employees to reach their full potential.”

RBC added learning and performance programs in 2022, including experiential and work-integrated learning so employees can apply coursework in real-life work situations, as well as mentorships and online tools and resources.

Whatever the reason for a job search, think beyond salary because a job is more than a paycheque. Ask questions during job interviews and share your priorities to find out how potential employers approach benefits, support and growth because there’s real value there, too.

This article was originally published in the Toronto Star.

A word from our lawyers

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subject matter discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.