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Are Immigrants Succeeding in Canada’s Job Market?

Friday | December 6, 2019 | by WES Advisor

canada's job market

One of the most important steps when you are planning to immigrate to Canada is learning about job opportunities for newcomers. Of course, you will also want to stay informed about Canada’s job market once you arrive.

World Education Services (WES) wants to be part of that process. As always, we strive to connect skilled immigrants with relevant knowledge and tools to streamline your job search.

That’s why we decided to study the employment outcomes for more than 6,400 skilled immigrants in Canada. We looked at the factors that affect an immigrant’s ability to succeed in the labour market. Those factors include experience, education, profession, and other demographics.

Our study revealed some interesting results. For example, it is clear that challenges persist for skilled immigrants in Canada—even though the country has made great strides in providing better access to jobs and leveraging international talent.

In this blog post, we summarize the key findings from our report. Below, you can learn more about the factors that influence success, as well as the obstacles that prevent immigrants from fully using their skills and experience in Canada.

Your Gender

Our study found that men were more likely to be employed than women in Canada.

Women were also less likely to have a job in their sector (or area of expertise). Additionally, they were less likely to have a job that matched the level of their experience or skills.

Field of Work

Our survey showed that it is not easy for skilled immigrants to continue working in their field of expertise once they immigrate to Canada.

Less than half of survey respondents said they stayed in the same field of work once they moved to Canada. In fact, nearly one-third of respondents had to change sectors after immigrating to Canada, despite the majority (91.4 percent) wishing to stay in the same field post-migration.

However, it was easier for immigrants in certain sectors to continue specializing. For example, IT (information technology) professionals were very likely to continue working in IT.

But we also asked individuals who worked in sectors such as management, health care, and education back in their home countries. Newcomers who previously worked in those sectors were far less likely to continue working in their fields once they arrived in Canada.

Which sectors did these immigrants move to? The report showed an increased number of individuals working in food services, construction, manufacturing, and finance.

You might have an easier time finding work that utilizes your skills if you work on your transferable skills. This will allow you to look for opportunities in several fields, expanding your overall options in the labour market.

Canadian Experience

You are more likely to find employment once you have some experience in Canada. If you enter the country as an international student or temporary foreign worker, you have a much better chance of finding gainful employment.

In fact, those who immigrated under the Canadian Experience Class were 2.4 times more likely to be employed than those who arrived through other economic streams.

If you are currently planning your immigration journey, you may want to consider how one of the opportunities mentioned above might prove a more promising long-term career path for you.

Country of Education

Did you go to school in your home country or study abroad? Where you studied matters when it comes to finding a job in Canada.

For example, immigrants who completed their highest degree in the United States were more likely to find work in a role that matched their sector and skills once they migrated to Canada.

Country of Origin

Your country of origin could correlate with a higher likelihood of finding employment in Canada. For example, our survey showed that respondents from the Philippines had the highest employment rates.

However, the ability to find employment easily does not necessarily mean you will be able to find employment in your field. In the example used above, it is important to note that many of our respondents worked in health care in the Philippines; now, they work in food services and other areas. This suggests that they faced challenges in entering their preferred profession in Canada.

What Can You Do to Improve Your Chances of Success on the Job Market?

You might not be able to change where you were born, where you went to school, or what you studied. But there are other factors within your control that will make an impact on your overall career success in Canada.

Here are three things you can do upon arrival, based on information from our report:

  1. Learn About Regulated Professions

You might learn that the role you held in your home country is considered a regulated profession in Canada. In this case, you might need new licensing when you arrive in Canada.

Survey respondents who worked in known regulated professions said that they faced challenges upon arriving in Canada. In fact, they were significantly less likely to work in a job commensurate with their skills, education, and experience.

However, some respondents said they were unsure if their former profession was regulated in Canada. This indicates a critical lack of accessible, tailored, and relevant information regarding regulated professions.

If you are not sure about whether your job will be considered a regulated profession in Canada, or if you will need a licence to continue practicing your role, here is one place to start.

  1. Take Advantage of Employment Services

Our survey showed that job seekers who used career services had higher employment rates than those who did not.

Here’s the great news: Job search help is available to immigrants for free, through the government, in your local area. In fact, there are a lot of wonderful services available to you. In general, it is important to take advantage of all available resources as a newcomer to Canada.

  1. English Proficiency

Whether you begin before you leave you home country or after you arrive in Canada, it’s a good idea to take classes to improve your English.

Our study found that English-language proficiency was directly associated with employment. In other words, immigrants with better English (reading, writing, and speaking) skills had an easier time finding jobs that aligned with their experience and expectations.

As an added bonus, if you already feel confident in your English skills, you could also look into the bonuses of learning French in Canada.

Study Takeaways: What Comes Next?

Newcomers and future immigrants to Canada need access to timely, accurate information about the labour market. This will help you plan your journey and make better career choices.

Our latest report is just the start. More research must be done to determine the specific programs and practices that effectively address the challenges that skilled immigrants face every day upon arriving in Canada.

At WES, we are committed to advancing global mobility by helping skilled immigrants achieve their education and career goals. We will continue to engage in the development of solutions that drive this mission.

Specifically, we will proceed to test tools and create new resources that verify and showcase immigrants’ knowledge, skills, and abilities.

To learn more about immigrant employment success in Canada, download the full report.

Related Reading

Employment in Canada

WES Advisor is an initiative of World Education Services, a non-profit organization with over 45 years of experience in international education. We provide advice and resources for international students and skilled immigrants to help them make informed decisions about education, employment, immigration, and integration opportunities in the U.S. and Canada.