Canada has always been a land of opportunities for Newcomers. Since Confederation in 1867, more than 17 million immigrants have come to Canada. With the share of Canada’s growing population made up by immigrants currently at 21.9 percent, business owners have a real opportunity to recognize this pool of skilled immigrants as a business asset and use it to their full advantage. There are many reasons to consider hiring a newcomer but we’ve shortened it down to 10 main benefits.
Number and proportion of foreign-born population in Canada, 1871–2036
- Newcomers to Canada arrive with a breadth of experience. The diversity of education, training and on-the-job skills newcomers have before arriving in Canada can bring a fresh perspective to existing business practices. A newcomer can bring a fresh pair of eyes to the team and challenge the status quos.
- Newcomers can help an organization expand into other markets. A newcomer may speak other languages and could have knowledge and experiences of international business practices. They will be able to provide local knowledge if the company is looking to expand in their country of origin and could introduce local contacts, saving both time and money.
- Newcomers can help an organization connect with their audience. 1 in 5 Canadians are immigrants – in Calgary it’s almost 1 in 4, and nearly half of all Toronto residents were born outside of Canada. Skilled immigrant employees can help organizations serve these large – and growing – markets. They can help organizations better understand and connect with their customers. Newcomers can also expand your customer base through improved cultural awareness and communications and potentially ensure the organization is the right fit for the local market.
- Newcomers are here to stay. A common misconception when hiring a newcomer is the risk that they will shortly return back to their home country. A recent report from Statistics Canada showed that a growing number of immigrants who come to Canada as temporary foreign workers are in fact staying longer and obtaining permanent residence. For workers on temporary visas there are many pathways for them to gain permanent residency and/or extend their work permit. Schemes such as the CEC and Federal Skilled Worker Program are making it easier for skilled workers to extend their stay in Canada.
- Newcomers have already demonstrated they have a proven capability to settle into the Canadian labour market. Gaining a work permit for Canada is not a easy process. It takes time, effort and financial costs. Canada introduced the Express Entry system in 2015 with the aim to invite eligible candidates to apply for permanent residence on a priority basis. The 2016 census showed that more than 60% of immigrants who arrived between 2011 and 2016 were admitted through an economic program. Economic arrivals have to demonstrate that they have the proven capability to settle into the Canadian labour market as part of their application.
- Newcomers will recognize an opportunity and will work hard to keep it. A newcomer is eager to start a life in Canada and will value an opportunity given to them. Newcomers often don’t have any Canadian work experience so they have to work harder to prove their skills and abilities to demonstrate their fit with the role.
- A Newcomer can improve employee relations through increased diversity. A study at the University of Florida found that workplace diversity increases employee morale and causes employees the desire to work more effectively and efficiently. Diversity in leadership within a firm can also allow managers to bring in new skills and methods for achieving unity within their teams. Additionally it can enable each member of the team to broaden their own cultural awareness and appreciation. Job seekers are also drawn to companies with diverse workforces because it is evident that the companies do not practice employment discrimination.
- Newcomers are a fresh wave of talent in a low unemployment market. Many parts of Canada are experiencing the lowest unemployment rates in 40 years. The workforce is shrinking as unprecedented numbers of workers retire and fewer new workers enter the labour market. However demand for skilled labour is growing, fueling the low unemployment rates. Skilled immigrants are constantly arriving in Canada and bring fresh talent in an environment of labour shortages.
- Hiring newcomers can enhance a corporate image. Annual awards such as the national Canada’s Best Diversity Employers and many local awards recognize the work that employers do to capitalize on skilled immigrant talent. In addition to being recognized in these awards, hiring newcomers can also enhance the corporate image among international customers.
- The positives of hiring a newcomer outweighs the negatives. This article has outlined many benefits to an organization which considers newcomers in its recruitment strategy. Although there can be challenges, such as in every new hire, they are often outweighed by the advantages. In Canada’s increasingly global economy, it could be argued that a company open to hiring newcomers will be able to compete against the challenging unemployment rates and ensure they are keeping relevant to both their customers and their employees.