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Survey of skilled newcomers who previously used employment services (2021)

Posted on:
May 15, 2024

What is this research about?

The research focused on understanding the needs and gaps in employment support services for skilled Newcomers in Canada. The study identified the needs and gaps in labour market integration supports for Newcomers and to determine which services are most effective in helping them secure employment that matches their skills and qualifications.

What do you need to know?

The research assesses various aspects of the services provided, such as employment counseling, networking events, and work placements, and their impact on employment outcomes. It targets skilled Newcomers who have utilized employment services to integrate into the Canadian labour market.

What did the researchers do?

The researchers used a mixed-methods approach:

  1. Online Surveys: Conducted with skilled Newcomers who had previously used employment services, focusing on their demographics, the services they used, and their current employment status. They analyzed survey responses to identify demographic characteristics, service usage, satisfaction, challenges, and labour market outcomes.
  2. Focus Group Interviews: Two sets of focus group interviews were conducted. The first set with service providers to understand the challenges and effective strategies in service delivery, and the second set to validate and deepen the findings from the online survey.

What did the researchers find?

  • Employment Supports: Newcomers primarily used employment counseling, networking events, and training/skills upgrading.
  • Satisfaction: Overall satisfaction with services was high, with most respondents willing to recommend the services.
  • Challenges: Major challenges included the lengthy and costly Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR) process, and low awareness of services. Women with children face more significant challenges due to childcare needs, impacting their ability to benefit from these services.
  • Effectiveness: Employment counseling, networking events, and work placements were strongly associated with successful labour market outcomes. However, training and skills upgrading did not show a significant impact after controlling for individual characteristics.
  • Service Gaps: Pre-arrival services were under-used due to low awareness. However, they are highly beneficial if engaged before Newcomers arrive in Canada. Customized and targeted solutions, such as specialized networking events and industry-specific mentorships, were suggested as improvements.
  • Virtual delivery: "Service providers noted the increase in attendance and enrollment in employment services since the switch to virtual delivery. Some of this may be explained by the benefits of the virtual delivery, such as less need for childcare and transportation. Some said that the geographic area of Newcomers using the services increased, with more participants living further from urban centres able to participate. They noted that digital literacy was not an issue for the skilled Newcomers; however, access to hardware could be a barrier. ISAs concluded that virtual delivery is here to stay and might potentially be modified into a hybrid model. They also noted, however, that a hybrid model may require additional funding."
  • Awareness of services: "The survey results confirmed what practitioners mentioned in the first focus group ― that awareness of the services is low. Participants suggested that creative solutions were required to alleviate the awareness issue. Focus group participants also emphasized the importance of getting to Newcomers earlier. Some service providers noted that Newcomers sometimes visited regular employment service organizations (not immigrant focused) and did not receive targeted services. When they eventually did connect to the immigrant service agencies, they were often frustrated and had already spent time pursuing services not customized to their specific needs. Providers wished that the employment service agencies would be more prompt in referring Newcomers to the immigrant-serving organizations equipped to help."

How can you use this research?

This research provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of employment services for skilled Newcomers and offers practical recommendations for enhancing these services to better meet their needs and improve their integration into the Canadian labour market. Use the insights from this research to refine service offerings, focusing on the most impactful services as identified in the study, and consider new services based on emerging needs.

  • Service Providers: Enhance awareness and accessibility of services, especially pre-arrival services. Focus on providing customized, targeted solutions to address specific Newcomer needs. Develop services that address specific needs of skilled Newcomers, such as credential recognition support and tailored employment counseling. Improve outreach and information dissemination about available services to ensure Newcomers can access these supports promptly upon arrival. Introduce flexible service schedules and virtual service options to accommodate the unique needs of Newcomer women with children.
  • Policymakers: Consider reducing regulatory barriers and increasing support for the FCR process. Implement policies to improve early engagement with Newcomers and provide accurate information about available services.
  • Employers: Participate in collaborative efforts with service providers to improve labour market integration for skilled Newcomers. Offer work placements and mentorship opportunities to support Newcomers' transition into the workforce.

Summary

The research focused on understanding the needs and gaps in employment support services for skilled Newcomers in Canada. The study identified the needs and gaps in labour market integration supports for Newcomers and to determine which services are most effective in helping them secure employment that matches their skills and qualifications.
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