Small Business Less Willing to Hire Newcomers

TORONTO, Jan. 29 /CNW/ - Although Canadian employers have good intentions when it comes to hiring internationally educated professionals (IEPs), small firms still see IEPs as more of a risk than an advantage.

The study by the Progress Career Planning Institute (PCPI) found that larger firms are more likely to recognize that a diverse workforce is a huge asset in developing business with a global reach.

"Canada's cultural diversity is a tremendous asset, and we're doing everything we can to help all employers see that," said Silma Hudson Roddau, President of PCPI. "Internationally educated professionals bring the kind of skill and experience that Canadian companies of all sizes need to compete."

The study, The Power of Different: The Race to Bridge the Skills Gap in the Toronto Region, suggests that more employers should take IEPs on a "test drive" by hiring them on contract.

"The reality is that immigration could account for virtually all labour force growth in Canada within the next decade," said the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. "Our government is committed to helping newcomers integrate and succeed."

To help internationally educated professionals (IEPs) connect with prospective employers, the Progress Career Planning Institute (PCPI) is hosting the 7th Annual 2010 International Professionals Conference. This is the largest networking event of its kind - bringing together over 1,000 IEPs, employers and employment experts from 80 countries to share their successes and strategies in integrating foreign trained professionals into Canada's workforce.

In Toronto, roughly half of the City's residents were born outside Canada.

"Toronto has the economic advantage of being one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world," said Michael Williams, General Manager, Economic Development, Culture and Tourism, for the City of Toronto. "Our residents are able to speak in just about every language, helping Toronto businesses connect with every corner of the globe. That's a huge plus."

The conference heard from three newcomers who shared their stories of hard work, perseverance and success with the audience, including Jianhong Wu, President-Elect of the Canadian Industrial and Applied Mathematical Society. His message to IEPs is not to be discouraged. "As skilled professionals we have unique advantages and experience. Often the biggest challenge is convincing not just potential employers, but friends and colleagues that we have a very special talent," said Wu.

    
    The research study by PCPI based in part on interviews with IEPs found the
following:

    -   71% of internationally educated immigrants feel they cannot achieve
        their professional goals in Canada.

    -   Over 50% those surveyed found work in their field, but not at their
        level of education.

    -   30% felt they were overqualified and not able to realize their full
        potential.

    -   75% say they were advised to get further education to achieve their
        employment goals.

    -   Larger firms are more likely to have a culturally diverse workforce.
    

The study also recommends that employers speak with passion on the competitive advantages of IEPs to their customers, suppliers and friends at the chamber of commerce.

About Progress Career Planning Institute (PCPI): PCPI is a business-focused, not-for-profit organization that offers career development services for people to realize their full potential. The Annual Internationally Educated Professionals Conference is a key component of its work.

SOURCE PROGRESS AND CAREER PLANNING INSTITUTE

For further information: For further information: Amanda Galbraith, Playbook Communications, Cell: (416) 710-3211, amanda@playbookcommunications.com; To learn more about the IEP Conference visit http://www.iep.ca

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PROGRESS AND CAREER PLANNING INSTITUTE

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