You already know newcomer professionals face challenges working in their fields.
At the same time, organizations sometimes can’t find newcomer professionals because they seem “hidden.”
Closing the gap between newcomers and organizations means linking through job fairs, internships, diversity awareness and many more initiatives that ISSofBC has facilitated over several years.
This was the topic of a presentations by a Lower Mainland company at AMSSA’s recent BC/Yukon Immigrant Integration Summit held in Richmond in November as a forum for discussing newcomer integration needs.
For Roselia Moreno, Manager of Reliability Engineering at Acclaro Management Corporation, hiring skilled newcomer engineers brings back very personal memories of her own successful integration into the Canadian labour market after moving from Venezuela five years ago. She accepted work as a Reliability Engineer and now manages an entire team of Engineers. During her time with Acclaro, Roselia has seen a number of skilled workers hired that have originated outside Canada. Skilled immigrants bring diverse and technical experience; Roselia has found Canadian companies put great importance on creating inclusive workplaces that respect a newcomer’s prior knowledge and identity.
“My experience in meeting these candidates have made me realize the ‘hidden immigrant share of the market’ is out there. There are very talented immigrants looking for opportunities and they have to move from being hidden to having visibility for companies to reach them.”
Roselia also notes newcomers may not be as proficient in English but will have exceptional professional experience and specialized skills. If a company fosters an inclusive environment (with focus on mentoring and development) then English skills will naturally evolve and complement the technical and professional skills that are harder to acquire. The employee must have the right attitude and the employer must provide the environment, of course. Even small details count, like pronouncing someone’s name correctly.
Roselia says her company has also learned important guidelines in mentoring MAPLE 2.0 newcomers. She believes that 12 weeks is the optimal amount of time for an intern and company to get acquainted and to complete a specific task or project. As well, she suggests each company have individual standards for what constitutes a senior position; senior experience abroad might not immediately qualify a newcomer to operate as a senior team member in Canada. However, with appropriate coaching and a candidates’ willingness to adapt, newcomers can quickly return to senior positions.
“It does not matter the level of expertise you are hiring,” the successful engineer wrote in her presentation, “You need to go over a learning curve or adaptation curve for the person entering into a workplace until the person is ready to perform at a senior level.”
Finally, Roselia urges all organizations to understand the responsibility of creating a welcoming environment that celebrates participation by workers from around the globe.
“We have enjoyed working with the ISSofBC program, it provides us with zero risk access to a talented pool of candidates and it provides candidates with the opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities during an internship. The program compliments the workplace inclusiveness we strive for and we also get to feel good about supporting immigrant integration within our society.
We as employers have the responsibility to make our workplaces an inclusive one. We as employers have resources that we can use to improve the inclusiveness.”
Roselia was one of two company representatives who described the success experienced in working with ISSofBC and the MAPLE 2.0 project specifically.
About the Author: Gwen Pawlikowski is a freelance writer and entrepreneur who has also worked as an ISSofBC employment counsellor with newcomers. She lives in New Westminster and loves the diversity of the Lower Mainland. Please click here for information on ISSofBC’s career services.