Looking for work? Look to the North

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Top Canadian banks have escaped U.S. and European job-cutting trends this year as acquisitions and other hiring have helped to swell their head counts during the third quarter.

Canada’s fiscal year ends Oct. 31, and next year, the largest Canadian banks will begin some select strategic hiring as well, according to one recruiter.

Leading the pack in staff growth is Toronto-based Royal Bank of Canada. Its takeover of custodian Dexia Investor Services added 6,938 to RBC’s ranks in the fiscal third quarter.

Bank of Nova Scotia, the country’s third-largest lender, also plans to add about 1,100 employees after it completes its C$3.13 billion takeover of the Canadian unit of ING Groep NV (INGA).

With 62,000 jobs lost at U.S. banks between September 2008 and the end of June, 2012, Canada’s lenders have expanded their ranks through more than 100 acquisitions in the wake of the financial crisis, Bloomberg observed recently.

Then again, it’s not as though most Canadian banks are hiring in droves independent of such mergers, says Janice Detta Colli, managing director with recruiter Boyden Toronto.

“They’re not really hiring but acquiring, and then assessing those people and putting them where it makes sense,” says Detta Colli.

Banks that did hire independently of acquisitions during the third quarter of this year included:

• Scotiabank, which added 349 jobs, or 0.4 percent of its workforce, including 140 employees for international banking.

National Bank of Canada, which added 242 employees, a 1.4 percent increase to its ranks, and

•  Toronto-Dominion, which added 778 jobs to its workforce in the third quarter—a 1 percent increase—with almost two-thirds of the additions coming from Canadian and U.S. operations, Bloomberg reported.

The aforementioned posts represent mostly middle-management positions, says Detta Colli, who focuses on recruiting for positions at the level of vice president and above, so “I don’t see a lot of that action,” she says. Detta Colli says top Canadian banks will spend 2013 “being really careful and risk averse and assessing talent ”for “select strategic hires.”

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