New study by ALLIES-Accenture shows mentoring skilled immigrants improves career prospects.
By Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star
Matching skilled immigrants with Canadians in the same fields helps newcomers build professional networks and boost their career prospects, a new study finds.
According to the pro-bono study by Accenture, a business consulting company, immigrant participants in job-mentoring programs saw their unemployment rate drop from 73 per cent to 19 per cent a year after completing the program.
Their average annual full-time earnings also increased by 62 per cent, from $36,905 to $59,944, said the report released Wednesday by ALLIES, Assisting Local Leaders with Immigrant Employment Strategies.
“Mentoring is a low-cost, high-impact intervention that delivers on the promise of opportunity made to newcomers that make Canada their home every year,” it said. “The results are in. The time to expand mentoring is now.”
Through mentoring programs, job-ready, pre-assessed skilled immigrants with high degrees of language proficiency can learn about the Canadian job market, requirements and work cultures in their designated professions.
The matching with their Canadian counterparts in their fields also helps newcomers establish their professional networks and develop job leads, the report said.
ALLIES launched the national mentoring initiative in 2009 by providing funding, coaching and technological support, as well as connections to national employers, to 12 local programs in seven provinces.
The study surveyed 1,900 immigrant mentees in eight Canadian cities who completed their programs between 2010 and 2012.
At the start of their mentoring, only 13 per cent of the 292 respondents had a full-time job, about a quarter of them working in a field related to their education and work experience.
Twelve months after completing the mentorship program, the full-time employment rate shot up to 65 per cent, 71 per cent of them in their own professional fields, 47 per cent working at a level commensurate to their qualifications.
“We should make the right investments in mentoring to engage more employers, government and other key stakeholders so that we can reach many more skilled immigrants,” said the study.
“We all stand to gain — our businesses become more competitive, our newcomers are better integrated, and our economy is made stronger.”