Hiring Immigrants Helps RBC Serve Multicultural Customers

Canada’s demographics are changing with more immigrants making Canada their home than ever before. To best serve this expanding multicultural customer base, RBC Financial Group realized it needed employees who reflected the ethnicity of the communities RBC serves and who are familiar with their clients’ cultures.

To make this happen, RBC implemented a number of initiatives aimed at recruiting skilled immigrants including:

  • A visible minority advisory board with a focus on skilled immigrants.
  • Participation in the Career Bridge internship program aimed at recruiting skilled immigrants.
  • Development of partnerships with community organizations that place skilled immigrants in the workforce.
  • A bias-free interview guide that takes into account acknowledging of foreign credentials.

Since 2003, RBC’s recruitment management system has had the capability to collect and track the international experience of all job applicants. Access to this type of data (e.g. RBC employs over 700 skilled immigrant employees with post-secondary education) has provided the organization with the opportunity to learn and understand how to better leverage the potential of the international skills and credentials of its workforce.

For example, Irfan Chaudhry, a multi-lingual account manager, is a skilled immigrant from Pakistan whose client portfolio includes the South Asian Business Market.

Chaudhry was able to expand his client base by leveraging his relationships with the Canada-Pakistan Business Council and the Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce. His networking abilities and fluency in South Asian languages contributed to his outstanding results with RBC, achieving over 60-per-cent loan growth and over 10-per-cent deposit growth in 2004.

Tips for employers

  • Hire skilled immigrants to better serve clients by reflecting their ethnicity and culture.
  • Work with internship programs and community organizations geared to skilled immigrants to better recruit these candidates.
  • Acknowledge foreign credentials so skilled immigrants aren’t screened out of the recruitment process.

RBC Financial Group is one of Canada’s largest banks, with more than 70,000 employees. RBC has more than 150 specialized East Asian-focused branches, with employees who speak several Chinese dialects, as well as a number of branches dedicated to serving the growing Middle Eastern and South Asian populations. Gordon Nixon, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Zabeen Hirji, Chief Human Resources Officer, are co-chairs of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council and RBC sponsor’s the council’s Immigrant Success (IS) Awards.

Find Your Way