By now we’ve all heard of the demographic shifts effecting our province and its economic future. An aging population, lower than national-average birth rates and the out-migration of many young workers have all led to concerns that New Brunswick won’t be able to meet growing labour demands.
As a means to address this, the Government of New Brunswick adopted, in 2007, a population growth strategy aimed at increasing New Brunswick’s skilled workforce through, amongst other things, targeted immigration.
While the province has, in this time, seen a substantial increase in the number of skilled newcomers arriving every year, the reality is that successful workforce integration, the end goal, can take time. Language and / or cultural barriers are often contributing factors, but so too can be employers, or more specifically, a reluctance of some employers to consider the qualifications of newcomers and all that they could contribute to their organizations or places of business.
Consider for example the fact that hiring a newcomer to Canada can give you a global advantage in the marketplace, potentially opening your business up to new international markets and providing you with insight into otherwise foreign business cultures.
Are your business interests are closer to home? Think about the roughly 500 new immigrants who arrive in Fredericton yearly, populating an already diverse local consumer market. By employing a newcomer to Canada as one of your front-line staff you can effectively bring much of that business into your shop, as it were, because immigrants, like all of us, are much more likely to spend their consumer hours where their first language is represented in the services they receive.
How about the value in being seen as an employer that supports diversity? What better way to stand out in the community then as an embodiment of this important Canadian value.
Looking for fresh and innovative ideas, a unique perspective on doing business, a stand-out work ethic or exceptional loyalty within the team you’ve so carefully constructed? Newcomer employees not only bring all of these things to the workforce but are also often highly educated and experienced as well!
If I haven’t yet convinced you of the merits of hiring newcomers to Canada, further consider this. At the Multicultural Association we have three employment specialists, all at the ready, to work with you (and of course our newcomer clients) to facilitate the workforce integration process. Throughout the year we also provide counselling services, credential recognition assistance, soft-skill training, cultural competency workshops and post-employment support to better prepare our clients for the demands of working in Canada. Basically whatever type of interventions or support is needed, we are here.
So the next time you are reviewing resumes, please take a few extra moments to look over the ones from applicants born outside of Canada. You might just stumble upon an incredible asset to your workplace.
About the Author
Jason MacFarlane is the New Brunswick Employment Language Training (NBELT) Coordinator at the Multicultural Association of Fredericton, an organization that assists in the settlement of newcomers to Canada in the Fredericton region. Learn more about the MCAF at www.mcaf.nb.ca