Western is one of the top employers in Southwestern Ontario, according to a new analysis of the best workplaces in the region.
The inaugural list of top Southwestern Ontario employers was released Jan. 16 by Mediacorp Canada, a St. Thomas-based company that publishes the annual ranking of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. The list features 40 companies and organizations with a head office in the “519” area code region.
“Western is pleased to be recognized as a top employer in this inaugural program, alongside the exceptional companies and organizations who also call Southwestern Ontario home,” said Jane O’Brien, Western’s associate vice-president of human resources.
“Western is proud of its roots in Southwestern Ontario and London. Our employees live in many different communities, and they give back to so many different organizations that strengthen the region.”
Employers were evaluated across eight criteria: workplace; work atmosphere; health, financial and family benefits; vacation and time off; employee communications; performance management; training and skills development, and community involvement.
Western offers a wide variety of resources and benefits for its workers, from educational opportunities to generous health benefits and pension plans to campus-wide resources that prioritize mental and physical health.
Among its employee offerings:
- “Living Well @ Western” program that encourages staff to take care of every facet of their health – physical, mental, financial – through free activities such as lunchtime walks, speaker series and other resources.
- Facilities and programs to meet individual needs, such as Indigenous-centred spaces, entrepreneurial services to help launch businesses, dozens of dining options and a community garden, all within a campus that spans 455 hectares with a thriving ecosystem.
- A focus on sustainability, including a pledge to reach net-zero carbon emissions on campus by 2050. The university’s commitment to sustainability has earned international accolades. Western is the only Canadian institution to make the top 10 in two highly-regarded sustainability rankings for universities.
- Dedication to community outreach and volunteer efforts at home and abroad. Western runs the largest workplace campaign for the United Way Elgin Middlesex and the second-largest university campaign in the country.
- A plethora of professional development and continuing education opportunities, including annual staff learning days, tuition reimbursement for university courses, continuing studies courses and micro-credentials.
“As a university, supporting the career and leadership development of faculty and staff is critical to us. The importance we place on learning starts with our students and extends as a key success factor for all employees,” O’Brien said.
The editorial team behind the list of Southwestern Ontario’s top employers, which analyzed and determined the winners, highlighted Western’s recreation facilities, including an impressive gym with pool, indoor track, arena, squash courts, spin bikes and fitness space, as well as free or discounted opportunities for exercise across campus.
Their selection analysis also put the spotlight on Western’s defined contribution pension plan, employer-paid health-care premiums – which continue into retirement for eligible employees – and support for parents through maternity and parental leave top-up payments and help for the return-to-work period.
“At Western, providing an outstanding employee experience is critical – it’s what enables staff and faculty to provide an unmatched student experience and develop the world-class research and creative activity we’re known for.” – Jane O’Brien, associate vice-president of human resources
With up to 14,000 people working at Western during the academic year, it is the second-largest employer in the city.
The first-ever list showcasing Southwestern Ontario’s top employers – similar rankings have been done in the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton and Niagara regions and Waterloo – covers organizations with a head office between Lake Huron, Georgian Bay and Lake Erie.
“We are honoured to be able finally to bring readers stories about the best employers in Southwestern Ontario,” said Anthony Meehan, publisher of Mediacorp and the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project.
“The region tells a compelling story through its history, its people, and the wide variety of industries that make up Southwestern Ontario’s employment landscape – many of our editorial team live or have lived in the region, so we know it well.”
Three London-based companies made the inaugural list alongside Western: CARFAX, Digital Extremes and LBMX.
“Western is proud of the fact that more than 112,000 of our alumni are living in Southwestern Ontario – many of them work for and lead great companies and organizations in the region,” O’Brien said.