Profits and people now growing together in Canadian banks 

Scotiabank, RBC, CIBC raise salaries in race for top talent

Highly skilled immigrants and top talents seeking banking careers are now having the most lucrative time as Scotiabank, CIBC and the leading Canadian banks raise salaries to record levels.

All the major Canadian banks have announced new pay increases as the bidding war for top talent intensifies. Scotiabank is raising pay for workers in assistant manager roles and below, representing half of its Canadian employees, by 3% as of June 20. The increase, announced to employees last month, is in addition to regular year-end salary adjustments and bonuses.

Scotiabank has a total staff strength of almost 90,000 people.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) is boosting its minimum wage too and pledging to push it even higher in the next few years. The minimum wage will rise to C$20 per hour in July, and go up to C$25 by the end of 2025, according to a statement from Chief Executive Officer Victor Dodig on Thursday.

The bank is also following Scotiabank in providing a 3% raise for workers in the six lowest levels of its pay scale next month.

“These investments build on the steady, strategic targeted investments we have been making as we continue to ensure we pay competitively and recognize the contributions of our team, particularly at a time when the cost of living has been increasing,” Dodig said in the statement.

Why Canadian banks are boosting pay

Scotiabank, RBC, CIBC raise salaries in race for top talent

Canada’s banks are boosting pay, especially for employees in the lower tiers of their pay scale, to attract and retain workers in a historically tight labor market. Canada’s unemployment rate hit a low of 5.2% in April — the lowest in data going back to 1976.

Royal Bank of Canada said last month that it would spend more than C$200 million on pay increases, benefits and other incentives to retain workers. The bank is also raising base salaries by 3% in the four lowest levels of its pay scale, accounting for almost half of its workforce.

Bank of Montreal in October said it was raising its minimum wage for US branch and contact-center employees to $18 an hour, a 20% bump.

TD Bank had also announced a 3% pay raise to most of its non-executive employees and $1,500 cash bonuses to some other staff.

The biggest banks in Canada: assets and staff 

Bank Assets’ size Staff size
1. TD Bank

2. RBC

3. Scotia

4. CIBC

5. BMO

$1.73 Trillion

$1.71 Trillion

$$1.18 trillion

$837.7 billion

$822.4 billion

89,464

85,301

89,488

45,282

43,863

Banks’ pay jump and what it means for immigrants

Most of the banks in Canada are scrambling to be more inclusive in their employment, but immigrants, especially people of colour are still highly under-represented in the Canadian banking sector.

According to the Government of Canada, “the strength of Canada’s economy is measured in part by the number of people working (known as the labour force) and paying taxes to fund our public services, such as health care.

“Thanks to immigration, Canada’s labour force continues to grow every year. If it weren’t for immigrants, employers would have trouble finding enough qualified workers to fill available jobs. Immigrants contribute to our economy, not only by filling gaps in our labour force and paying taxes, but also by spending money on goods, housing, and transportation.”

The Government of Canada set a target of welcoming 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021.

Banking salaries in Canada range from $40,900 per year (minimum average salary) to $267,000. The average actual maximum could be far higher, based on position and experience.

For immigrants who often have to remit money back to their home countries to family members, the upward salary adjustment in the banking sector is great news.

References:

Bloomberg

Scotiabank

Salary explorer

Canada GOV

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