Recognized as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 6, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why IMAX Corporation was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers (2017) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2017):
- IMAX helps employees plan for the longer term with contributions to a defined contribution pension plan and manages a year-end bonus program -- additionally, the company offers generous referral bonuses (up to $3,000) when employees successfully recruit a friend
- IMAX's head office features its own IMAX theatre (where employees can invite their friends and family for weekend viewings) as well as two barrier-free washrooms, shower facilities and an area used for weekly yoga and pilates classes -- outside, the company maintains two bicycles for employees to use as needed during the work day
- IMAX's subsidized social committee organizes a number of events and celebrations for staff each year including a children's holiday party, IMAX friends and family movie screenings for major blockbuster events, and summer events such as a volleyball tournament and billiard and bowling nights
IMAX: High tech and the sexy side of Hollywood
Things can move quickly for people at IMAX Corporation. Five years ago, Sarah Hasnoo was a newly hired sales analyst for the big-screen entertainment company at its global headquarters in Mississauga, Ont. Now she is based in Manila, Philippines, where, as Director, Theatre Development and Theatre Operations, Asia-Pacific, she travels a vast territory stretching from India to Japan to Australia.
"It's a great opportunity," says Toronto-born Hasnoo. "It's fascinating to see the different cultures and how people interact with each other."
Currently there are nearly 100 IMAX cinemas in Hasnoo's territory, which involves the whole Asia-Pacific region outside China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and she is out to expand that number, big-time. It's a measure of how this Canadian company, founded in 1967 after its people created the famed giant screens at Expo 67, has grown and prospered in the half century since.
Although IMAX was long known for vivid large-screen documentaries on everything from the Grand Canyon to space exploration, its biggest focus today is Hollywood blockbusters. More than 1,100 IMAX cinemas in 74 countries now show big-budget, commercial movies that have been digitally remastered to take advantage of IMAX's huge screens and top-quality sound systems. Many directors also use IMAX equipment to film at least part of their movies for extra drama and clarity, and recently Clint Eastwood's "Sully" - starring Tom Hanks as Miracle on the Hudson pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger - became the first commercial release to be filmed entirely in IMAX.
This all makes for an exciting work environment, says Carrie Lindzon-Jacobs, Executive Vice President, Human Resources. "It's a very unique atmosphere and culture," she says. "You're bringing together cutting-edge technology as well as the sexy side of the Hollywood entertainment business."
In fact, she notes, "we are an innovative entertainment company, and that extends beyond films and the theatre network. We're always looking for new development opportunities. Currently, for instance, we're very focused on virtual reality."
IMAX recruits people from across the country to its building in the Sheridan Park research campus in Mississauga. There, they find a multi-generational workforce - some people have been with the company since the early days, while others are millennials - and lots of great perks. The most popular is the Blockbuster Friends and Family Screenings held on weekends. There are also yoga and pilates spaces, bikes for employee use and a subsidized cafeteria.
Given the varied generations, the company also offers flexible health benefits, a $500 wellness allowance, and an additional $1,000 worth of paramedical services, such as massage and physiotherapy. Employees also get shares in the company.
And, depending on the role, there may be opportunities for global travel and even international placement. The second largest office is in Los Angeles, and Lindzon-Jacobs says several Canadian staffers have relocated there, as well as Europe. Technical people often work on Hollywood film sets during production. A joint venture in China also involves IMAX Canadians.
Similarly, Hasnoo opened the Manila office in January 2016 along with a colleague from Los Angeles, and she works closely with a Canadian IMAX executive based in Moscow. "This company really values its employees and thinks about how it can provide opportunities to them," she says. "IMAX is just such an innovative company, and I really get a sense of pride when I tell someone I work there.