Last month, Royal Bank of Canada was one of three employers recognized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for its work with newcomers. The Government of Canada, in collaboration with Hire Immigrants Ottawa, awarded RBC with a 2019 Employer Award for Newcomer Employment. RBC has been a proud supporter and partner of TRIEC Mentoring Partnership for more than a decade and has hired 214 newcomer mentees since the beginning of the partnership, 37 of whom were hired this fiscal year. They are also the lead sponsor of the National Mentoring Partnership. We recently spoke to Erin Stein, Vice President, Global Recruitment and Ivy Chiu, Senior Director, Newcomer Strategy at RBC on their award and the bank’s success in supporting newcomers advance in the Canadian labour market.

RBC has a long history of supporting newcomers, and recruiting and fully integrating immigrants into their workplace. Why is diversity and inclusion a core value at RBC?

Erin: At RBC, we believe diversity and inclusion strengthens us. By sharing unique perspectives, we grow as an organization and as individuals – we approach challenges differently and create innovative solutions. RBC serves our clients in over 200 languages and hiring from the community to serve the community has been one of our guiding principles in recruitment for many years. Newcomer talent bring with them unique culture acumen which help us succeed not only in Canada but globally.

In what ways has RBC’s commitment to immigrant professionals’ success helped the bank prosper as an organization?

Erin: Helping clients thrive and communities prosper is RBC’s purpose and our commitment to immigrant professionals’ success allows us to better serve our diverse client base with our diverse and inclusive workforce. Talent, client and community are the three pillars of our diversity and inclusion strategy. When we are committed to providing meaningful employment opportunities to newcomer talent, we are able to help newcomer clients and communities in a more effective way.

How can employers generate buy-in from executive leadership to make such a commitment to diversity and inclusion?

Erin: The message is diversity and inclusive is not only nice thing to do, but it impacts the business’ bottom line. An inclusive culture allows the employee to reach their highest potential, be better engaged and more productive. Executives need to be equipped with well researched market data so that they can make sound business decisions. For example, as per Statistics Canada, by 2035, the Canadian population growth will 100% depend on immigration and, thus, should play a critical role in shaping an organization’s talent and client strategy. Any organizations who want to win in the future need to think about effective ways to attract newcomer talent and client now.

What is one RBC initiative from the past year that makes you particularly proud?

Erin: In addition to the sales and customer service roles where we have always had a focus on newcomer talent, last year we also put a lot of focus on helping newcomers with professional backgrounds such as technology, finance, procurement, etc. who are looking for non-entry level roles. We understand that often newcomers take entry-level jobs as a means to get into an organization; however, their capabilities surpass the role requirements.  The result, over-qualified talent with capabilities to deliver great value are being under-utilized and not contributing to their fullest potential.  We have hosted a number of workshops and mentoring sessions to help newcomer talent bridge this gap and to better equip them in their job searching journey. Our recruiters and hiring managers also get the opportunity to meet great diverse talent face to face, which help break the barrier of lack of “Canadian experience” on their resumes.


(On January 25th, 2019, three hundred mentors and newcomer mentees gathered together for Royal Bank of Canada’s orientation session. It was the largest orientation session ever in TRIEC Mentoring Partnership’s history)

RBC is a long-standing employer partner with TRIEC Mentoring Partnership. It is also now the lead sponsor of the National Mentoring Partnership. Why is mentoring newcomers so important to you?

Ivy: Diversity and Inclusion are an integral part of our core values. We celebrate clients from different backgrounds, with varied experiences, and we believe in leveraging such diversity to help our communities prosper. As part of this dedication, RBC has a longstanding history and commitment to helping newcomers in Canada not only through the products and services we offer, but also with our community partnerships and programs.

Finding employment is one of newcomers’ top priorities. While banking and setting up finances is essential for newcomers, we believe in recognizing the newcomers’ settlement journey from pre- to post-arrival, and provide help throughout this journey. With expert guidance and strategic partnerships that go beyond banking, we seek to make settlement in Canada as smooth as possible.

Congratulations again on receiving the 2019 Employer Awards for Newcomer Employment. What’s in store for next year and beyond?

Ivy: We just formed a RBC Enterprise wide newcomer council which allows us to build holistic strategy to support our newcomer talent, clients and communities. On the talent side, we are planning some initiatives that will further help newcomers break the “no Canadian experience, no job” cycle. More to come!