Brokering Success: Improving Skilled Immigrant Employment Outcomes

A Mowat Centre report on improving skilled immigrant employment outcomes through strengthened government-employer engagement by Andrew Galley and Jill Shirey .

Poor employment outcomes for skilled immigrants have long been a problem in Canada. Despite efforts to better integrate new immigrants into the labour market and to close the gap between the incomes of newcomers and their Canadian-born peers, skilled  immigrants continue to experience higher levels of unemployment.

Brokering Success examines the improvement of employment outcomes for skilled immigrants through strengthened government-employer engagement. It explains the necessity to design and implement initiatives that focus on “demand-led” employment supports for new skilled immigrants rather than those solely focused on job seekers’ skills and abilities.

The report identifies four key levers available to governments to improve engagement and outcomes:

  1.  Legislation and policy, including rules on entry streams and employment equity
  2. Economic development outreach, specifically building on existing relationships cultivated by economic development officers
  3. Funding of programs and services
  4. Engagement with intermediaries that represent employers, such as sector councils

It has recommendations to governments and employers to improve engagement in a manner that adapts to local needs, supports smaller enterprises, builds a common language around evidence, skills, and objectives; and promotes long-term stability of programs, services, and funding to build trust and sustained initiatives.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. All solutions require trade-offs, and levers for engagement may be more or less appropriate depending on the context, the level/order of government, and the employer.

The report says introduction of the new Canada Job Funds and the Canada Job Grant, and the shift toward the Express Entry system as the main immigration stream presents an opportunity to experiment with demand-driven initiatives to improve labour market outcomes for skilled immigrants.

Given the poor state of labour market information, it is hoped this research will help towards creating structures to enable employers easily access immigrant and other talent living in Canada.

Read the full report

Watch the webinar

Key findings of the report Brokering Success
Matthew Mendelsohn makes a strong case for improved engagement between governments and employers. He sees it as a necessary step in designing and implementing innovative “demand-led” initiatives that can produce better employment outcomes for newcomers.

Recommendations and Q & A
Ratna Omidvar highlights some of the recommendations that emerge from the Report. She addresses how governments should arrange and re-arrange internal systems and how governments can approach employers more effectively.

Find Your Way