The Best Places to Work in Ontario

Now more than ever, people are turning to company reviews to make informed decisions about their next employer. So much so that 83% of people say reviews influence where they apply, and 46% say that a company’s reputation significantly impacts their final decision to accept a job offer, according to Indeed research.

People now have the ability to get their hands on a lot of information, quickly and from reliable sources – employees of the organization. Employers, on the other hand, can use reviews to gauge their performance and employee perception so that they can continue to attract – and retain – new hires.

So which employers reign on the company reviews front? There are over 600,000 reviews on Indeed’s Company Pages in Canada. We examined our database of employer reviews to identify the top 10 places to work in Ontario. Our analysis took into account work-life balance, salary and benefits, job security and advancement, management and culture, all of which are key fundamentals in employee satisfaction.

Companies from various industries make the cut

Companies from a wide variety of industries earned a spot on our list – from financial services to specialty coffee to furniture and more.

Coming in at number one on our list, KPMG in Canada, a member firm of KPMG International, is a professional services firm that provides audit, tax and advisory services (and one of the “Big Four” accounting firms). Operating in 154 countries, the global network of member firms also provides its employees with global learning opportunities through its Global Opportunities Program, which allows employees to apply to work abroad.

 

Following KPMG was coffee powerhouse Starbucks. The company has long been recognized for its employee benefits, and similar to KPMG, facilitates learning and development via its tuition reimbursement program.

Indigo Books & Music (#4) and IKEA (#7) are two examples on our list of companies that have continued to evolve and diversify over the years. Indigo Books & Music expanded its product list to include toys and home and fashion accessories, transforming itself into a cultural department store. IKEA, boasting approximately 12,000 products, has also become famous for its cuisine including Swedish meatballs.

Microsoft (#5), known for a plethora of products including Microsoft Windows, Office, Surface and Xbox, was the only tech giant on our list – an impressive feat considering the typically celebrated corporate culture within the tech industry.

With hotels situated around the world, Fairmont Hotels & Resort came in at number eight, which comprises the Fairmont Royal York, a historic hotel in downtown Toronto, and Fairmont Château Laurier, an iconic building in Ottawa that is often referred to as “Ottawa’s Castle.”  

Financial services made up half of the top ten list, dispelling the notion that this industry embodies a rigid corporate culture. RBC and TD, two of the five largest banks in Canada, came in at three and six respectively. Sun Life Financial, a leader in Group Benefits, Group Retirement Services and Individual Insurance and Wealth (not to mention, the first ever Raptors Jersey sponsor) came in at number nine. Rounding out our top ten list was Desjardin, which boasts a long standing history in Ontario as well as the longest regional presence in Quebec.

The best of the best: What makes them great?

1. KPMG LLP

  • Founded: 1987
  • HQ: Toronto, ON

Nationally, KPMG operates in 40 offices and boasts over 700 partners and 6,100 employees. The firm prides itself on giving employees an opportunity to work with “great people and great projects.” Reviewers echoed this sentiment, as the people within the organization and challenging projects were consistent points of emphasis.

Stimulating projects are dispersed to people with various levels of experience – from interns to season employees. One reviewer states that KPMG in Canada is “a very good place to start your accounting career – there are continual opportunities to learn and grow, and several directions to take your career path… many people [offer] to mentor and help your growth and learning on the way as well, and [there are] continual ways to improve your skill set and knowledge base.”

2. Starbucks

  • Founded: 1971
  • HQ: Toronto, ON

What started as a single store in Seattle in 1971 has grown into the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world, boasting 18,000 retail stores in 62 countries. The first Starbucks opened its doors in Canada in March 1987 in Vancouver and has since welcomed 1,070 locations to its Canadian portfolio.

Starbucks scores consistently for its culture, with reviewers praising the people and culture.  And according to multiple reviewers, employees also have the opportunity to fine-tune their own barista skills. For example, one reviewer states that Starbucks offers a “Fast paced, supportive working culture that really helps expand your coffee, tea and food pairing knowledge… It’s a great starting point for learning how to effectively be a part of a team as well as have a supportive environment for turning weaknesses into strengths on and off the floor.”

3. RBC

  • Founded: 1864
  • HQ: Toronto, ON

RBC is no stranger to Indeed’s lists of top employers, as it recently took the number-one spot as the best place to work in Canada in 2017.

At the very heart of RBC is its values – integrity, fairness and respect. So, it’s no surprise that reviewers often pointed to the company’s culture as one of the key benefits to working there. RBC received its highest ratings under the categories of work-life balance, culture and salary and benefits.  

Reviewers often acknowledge RBC as a place for employees to learn and cultivate their skills. These benefits were encapsulated in one review, which states that RBC is “a great company to work for. There is a good work-life balance and there is also the chance for career development. I would recommend RBC to anyone looking to join the world of banking.”

4. Indigo Books & Music

  • Founded: 1996
  • HQ: Toronto, ON

While Indigo Books & Music was born in 1996, the company’s roots go as far back as 1940, when the first Coles Store opened in Toronto. Since its inception, the company has expanded its product list to become the world’s first “cultural department store.”

Indigo is dedicated to telling stories and creating experiences. The latter is also evident in the company’s approach to its employees, as culture was ranked above all other categories.

People often noted the approachability of their colleagues and management. One reviewer states that “Indigo is a fun company to work for, with great products and a wonderful culture. The goals are clear and customer-oriented and there are many ways to communicate with other employees (employee email and discussion boards). It feels like a real community.”

5. Microsoft

  • Founded: 1985
  • HQ: Mississauga, ON

While Microsoft Corp. was founded in 1975, Microsoft Canada came to fruition 10 years later in 1985. The development of Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, Xbox and Xbox 360 are just a few of the company’s achievements from a consumer standpoint. Employees, on the other hand, appreciate the company’s attractive attributes including great benefits and salary, culture and work-life balance.

Being in a friendly team environment was well noted in reviews. One reviewer states that “The staff was very friendly and team oriented. Everyone liked to see others succeed…The team had all sorts of different skills that they passed on to each other.

Another employer raves, “I was impressed by the loyalty of its employees… [and] the effort the company made to provide its staff with a good level of compensation and benefits…”

 

Want to learn more? Click on the banner to take a deeper dive into the data on the best places to work in Ontario.