New research shows that now is a better time than ever for small and medium sized businesses to hire immigrant workers. Allies Canada, an organization that helps local efforts in Canadian cities to successfully adapt and implement programs that further the suitable employment of skilled immigrants, recently did a year-long study on hiring and developing an immigrant workforce.
The study draws research from nearly 300 SMEs (Small and medium-sized enterprises) in focus groups in five Canadian cities, individual interviews, and an online survey conducted by the Conference Board of Canada. The research indicates that current SME’s face many challenges in hiring immigrant workers, including:
- SMEs face challenges finding skilled employees– especially for those positions that require highly specialized skills or are temporary. Some SMEs are turning to social media to recruit skilled workers.
• SME must compete for skilled talent. Many SMEs cannot provide the same levels of compensation and benefits as larger organizations.
• SMEs are reluctant to train new employees. Many cannot afford the time needed to train a new worker. Others fear that their investment will be lost if the individual moves to a competitor.
• SMEs are too busy to attend HR training events, workshops or seminars. However, they are more likely to attend networking, professional training or business development events.
• SMEs trust business information and advice that they get from their peers and professional service providers such as accountants.
• SMEs perceive government programs as rigid and not flexible enough to meet their needs. They are wary of the costs involved in labour force programs – including the cost of applying and reporting.
• SMEs might be less familiar than larger companies with the business case for hiring skilled immigrants, as well as the demographic trends affecting their business.
Considering Canada welcomes 250,000 immigrants each year, SMEs have a wealth of talent to tap into. Immigrant workers provide many services to a company, including multiple and diverse languages, new and fresh ideas, and helping to expand businesses to a global marketplace. The report recommends that governments should consider providing
financial supports to SMEs for hiring immigrant workers. It shows that effective programs to connect SMEs with the highly educated, skilled and experienced immigrant labour pool will have an enormous impact on SMEs, skilled immigrants, and on the Canadian economy.
The ABC project is conducting the Diversity Networking Series for fall 2012 targeted to businesses and organizations for networking, sharing of best practices and strategies for marketing and outreach for diverse talents in Abbotsford. Get your business ready! Visit the website at http://www.abcdiversity.ca/Diversity-Networking-Series.
For more information about the report, visit Allies Canada at http://alliescanada.ca/how-we-can-help/sme-projects/.