Employer Perceptions to Hiring Newcomers & International Students in Newfoundland and Labrador
Canada’s immigration system is highly labour-market focused. Premised on the human capital theory, immigrants are awarded points based upon their age, education work experience, and official language proficiency, with the expectation that this will lead to better labour market outcomes. This has resulted in an immigrant population in Newfoundland and Labrador that is well-educated and highly-skilled, which has translated into higher earnings and lower dependence on government transfers (Akbari 2008). Despite their qualifications, however, many immigrants leaving this province list a lack of job opportunities as their primary reason to do so (Gilroy 2005; Gien, Law 2009). While this may be due to a myriad of economic factors such as slow growth or skills mismatch, the literature on this topic suggests there may be other factors inhibiting newcomers’ career prospects (Abu-Laban and Gabriel 2002: Gilroy 2005; Law, Gien 2009).
While studies have found that the main reason newcomers leave the province is lack of employment, 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. 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 and 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.
Primary Research Question
What are the attitudes of employers in Newfoundland and Labrador towards hiring newcomers (immigrants and refugees), temporary foreign workers, and international students? What are the determinants and outcomes of these hiring attitudes? How do these attitudes change over time?
Memorial University in St. John’s, NL
July 2019 – June 2023 *This research project is completed.
Research Project Deliverables
In the 50-year span since 1971, Newfoundland and Labrador’s population has fallen 1.8%, standing today with an even less fortuitous demographic composition which represents a 62% decrease in persons under 20 and a 258% increase in those over 65. Increasing numbers of employers and other labour market stakeholders in the province are agreeing that immigration is a crucial determinant of Newfoundland and Labrador’s future well-being.
This study however, is less focused on what immigrants may bring to the province but on what the province might offer to immigrants; it examined arguably the most important factor in determining immigrant retention and satisfaction: employment. Specifically, it analyzed employers’ attitudes towards immigrants , which are key to them providing jobs to newcomers. The social/cultural context, personally held biases, macroeconomic circumstances, labour market conditions, employers’ experiences with immigrants, and the immigration system are the critical factors affecting employers’ attitudes toward hiring immigrants.
This slide deck was presented at a Stakeholder Briefing on September 28, 2023.
This video was presented at the NL Workforce Innovators Roundtable 2021 on October 5.