As an HR professional, you are aware Canada is increasingly moving towards a high-skilled, knowledge economy yet not enough Canadians are graduating from programs to meet employers’ needs. Not only can skilled immigrants can make up the labour shortfall, but their skills and experiences can improve how your organization does business at home and abroad.
Some senior leaders may be reluctant to hire skilled immigrants, either because they see immigrants as a risk or they don’t fully realize the benefits these highly skilled individuals bring to an organization. But organizations that don’t tap into this increasingly important market will lose out in the long run.
The following facts will help you show senior leaders in your organizations exactly why they should hire and integrate skilled immigrants.
Canada’s labour force is changing. Baby boomers are retiring and birth rates are falling. Even with the economic downturn, HR professionals know all organizations and sectors, from construction to information technology to retail, are facing a looming talent shortage.
Today, immigration plays a critical role in the growth of Canada’s labour market and Statistics Canada projects nearly all of our net population growth will be derived from immigrants by 2031.
Canada brings in about 250,000 immigrants per year. Of these, about 60 per cent are economic-class immigrants and their families. Economic-class immigrants are those who have been selected by Canada as best equipped to meet the needs of our economy.
Immigrants Highly Educated and Skilled
By 2015, 69 per cent of the 1.7 million new non-student jobs created will require post-secondary education (university or college) or be at a management level. This is up from 60 per cent in 2005.
Immigrants are more likely to have a post-secondary education than Canadian-born workers. In 2006, 36 per cent of immigrants aged 25 to 54 had at least a bachelor’s degree compared to just 22 per cent of their Canadian-born counterparts.
Skilled immigrants also bring new and different expertise to an organization, improving problem solving and boosting innovation.
Competing on a Global Scale
Canadian companies no longer compete only with neighbourhood industries in local markets — they must respond to worldwide demands and source international talent. In particular, organizations that service the needs of international trade operations will feel the pressures of the new world economy.
Skilled immigrants can contribute international skills, networks, experience, and languages to the benefit of your organization and aid with its global goals.
Local Markets are Changing
While local companies have to compete globally, major Canadian cities have seen an influx of immigration over the past several years, with minority group populations outpacing Canada’s overall population growth. To gain access to these potential consumers at home, companies are faced with the challenge of building networks and relationships with customers of diverse cultures.
Skilled immigrants can be valuable resources for understanding product and service needs in ethno-specific markets. They may also provide a competitive advantage by improving networks and relationships, by speaking a variety of languages and by adding diverse perspectives, experiences and skills sets to the workforce.
To learn more about the business case for hiring skilled immigrants, visit the Business Case section of the website.