To succeed in the future, Canadian businesses will need to hire immigrants to meet their workforce needs. Companies that can increase the diversity of their workforce today will be prepared as our country begins to rely on immigrants to fuel both population and workforce growth.
An Aging Population
- The Canadian government estimates that, by 2015, approximately 48% of the working population will be between the ages of 45 and 64, compared to 35% in 2004.
- 46% of baby boomers – those born between 1946 and 1966, are close to their retirement or pre-retirement years.
- Aging baby boomers are moving toward retirement.
- Lower birth rates are leading to fewer young people entering the workforce.
- Demand is increasing for more highly educated and skilled workers.
- Attracting and retaining skilled workers is more difficult than in the past.
- Job vacancies take longer to fill.
- The traditional methods for attracting skilled employees are no longer working.
Challenges with recruiting new immigrants:
Recruiters are hired by employers to find the best person for the job. They look for both technical skills and soft skills. Although it depends on the industry and the position they are recruiting for, generally soft skills are considered as equally important in finding the best candidate.
The Recruiter must also determine who is the most job ready candidate who can “hit the ground running” when it comes to immediately bringing value to the organization with the minimal amount of training.
So we have a seeming contradiction here, on the one hand Recruiters tend to hire people who are immediately capable to fill the position, and on the other hand we have a labor shortage looming that requires a company to prepare for integrating immigrants who may not be as immediately ready.
Although some responsibility may rest with the employer to accommodate immigrants into their organizations, given the reality of the workplace, most of the responsibility it appears still lies with the individual job seeker.
This means individuals, and not just employers, need to recognize the changes that are coming and to prepare for them accordingly.
How can immigrants best do this?
We would suggest by taking full advantage of programs such as Skills Connect for Immigrants Program and preparing a career plan that includes getting into the industry of choice in perhaps an entry level position to begin with while at the same time upgrading their technical and soft skills to meet the demands of the intermediate and senior positions they aspire to. This way, when the demand for more workers comes, the new immigrant will be ready.
Skills Connect is a program that can help Immigrants to develop such a plan inclusive of both short and long term goals. In the short term, we help clients find employment, and for the long term we help them learn about their industry of choice and begin to make contact with people in the industry.
Understandably, there may be much frustration initially, but making the extra effort now can make a big difference in the future.