On March 12, the annual Best Employers for New Canadians competition announced this year’s list of winners. These employers recognize the benefits that skilled immigrant employees bring to their businesses, for example, by boosting innovation and providing connections to diverse global and domestic markets.
It’s great to see some new employers on this list. Businesses such as Assiniboine Credit Union, Home Depot Canada, National Bank Financial Group, Pythian Group and Shaw Communications, and institutions such as Dalhousie University and Health Canada are making their first appearances. These leading employers are in good – and growing – company.
ALLIES recently conducted research into trends in the immigrant employment practices of the Best Employers for New Canadians winners in 2011 and 2012 (PDF). It builds on a previous analysis of winning employers in the 2008-2010 competitions (PDF). The report highlights successful practices used by employers, such as credential recognition, mentoring, professional upgrading, language training, and developing community partnerships.
The findings suggest that leading employers have some characteristics in common. In particular:
- They are continuing to use and improve their immigrant employment practices.
- Large employers (with more than 500 employees), and employers in large provinces actively target immigrant employees.
- Financial, health care, energy and manufacturing sectors lead the field.
- More employers are adopting good practices, and more are using combinations of practices to hire, integrate and retain skilled immigrant employees.
- In addition to improved immigrant employment practices, leading employers are working towards religious and cultural accommodation for all employees.
- Leading employers are doing well in terms of visible minority representation on staff and in management, but must continue to work towards diversity on their boards.
Employers play a critical role in ensuring full and meaningful employment for skilled immigrants. These best employers for new Canadians can lead their peers to innovate and implement immigrant employment solutions. To this end, ALLIES recommends:
- Employers should set goals and measure the representation of immigrants in their staff, management and on boards. What gets measured gets done.
- Employers should champion the case for hiring skilled immigrants, as well as the practices that have helped make them leaders among their peers.
- Immigrant employment councils, community organizations, government and other stakeholders should recognize employers for their leadership, and create opportunities for these leaders to share good practices.
- Future employer competitions and knowledge exchange events should actively seek participation from small and medium employers, as well as employers from all provinces and regions in Canada.
- Further research should continue to explore leading employers’ religious and cultural accommodation practices.