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Recruitment and retention

Study to delve into factors affecting immigrants' employment


By Janet Harron

A project from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences has received funding to investigate the attitudes of employers in the province toward hiring newcomers, temporary foreign workers and international students.

Dr. Tony Fang and his team.
Photo: Submitted

Dr. Tony Fang, the Jarislowsky Chair in Cultural and Economic Transformation in the Department of Economics, is heading up the through the Newfoundland and Labrador Workforce Innovation Centre-funded project.

It will provide valuable insights on provincial labour market conditions, labour and skill shortages in the coming three years (2019-21) and how immigrants and international graduates could potentially fill the skill gaps and the important roles that employers can play in more effective newcomer recruitment and retention.

Data-driven analysis

According to Dr. Fang, the main reason newcomers leave the province is lack of employment. Yet, few have examined employers’ attitudes towards hiring newcomers and international students.

“Delving into the factors affecting newcomers’ employment is a matter of crucial concern for policy-makers, employers and newcomers themselves,” he said.

“From the employer’s perspective, this project will analyze the data from a longitudinal survey of employers in the province in order to provide better understanding of the employment conditions of the newcomers and international students in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

He also says the analysis will better inform governments, settlement agencies and employer councils on what can be done to improve the integration and retention of immigrants, refugees, and international students in the province.

Well-educated and highly skilled

The funding will build on previous studies exploring employer attitudes towards the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and settlement and integration experiences of newcomers, including Syrian refugees, living in St. John’s.

Due to the fact that Canada’s immigration system is highly labour market focused with immigrants awarded points based upon certain criteria, the immigrant population in Newfoundland and Labrador is well-educated and highly skilled which translates into higher earning and lower dependence on government transfers.

“With Newfoundland and Labrador’s depressive demographic trends, out-migration of native-born population and newcomers, along with the recent introduction of the Express Entry program to Canada’s immigration system with its focus on employability, particularly from the employer’s side, delving into the factors affecting immigrants’ employment is a matter of crucial concern for both policy and practice,” said Dr. Fang.

In addition to the funding from the Newfoundland and Labrador Workforce Innovation Centre, the project has also received federal funding of $59,251 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency to do a similar study but with an Atlantic Canada focus.

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