A Competitive Workforce

The future growth of the Canadian labour market depends on skilled immigrants

The Canadian-born workforce is shrinking. Baby boomers are retiring and birth rates are falling. Immigrants are expected to account for all net labour force growth in the next few years and 80% of population growth by 2031. Employers must remove barriers and position themselves to quickly attract and fully engage a new group of employees with international perspectives and experiences.

Immigrants bring high levels of education. In 2007, 54% of immigrants aged 25 to 54 who landed from 2002 to 2007 held at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to 22% for their Canadian-born counterparts (see StatsCan report). These skilled immigrants can help Canadian companies do business with the world.

Global trade is rising. Nations such as China and India are increasing their economic global footprint. Today global buyers interact with global suppliers. Canadian companies no longer compete only with neighbourhood industries in local markets; they must respond to worldwide demands and source international talent. In particular, employers who service the needs of international trade operations will feel the pressures of the new world economy.

Building better international networks, increasing diversity awareness and improving relationships with global suppliers are all essential for maintaining a global competitive advantage. Skilled immigrants can contribute international skills, experience, and languages to the benefit of an organization, and aid with its global goals.

Major Canadian cities have seen an influx of immigrants over the past several years, To gain access to these potential consumers, companies are faced with the challenge and opportunity of building networks and relationships with customers of diverse cultural backgrounds.

Skilled immigrants may prove to be valuable resources for understanding product and service needs in ethno-specific markets. They may also provide a competitive advantage by improving networks and relationships, by speaking a variety of languages and by adding diverse perspectives, experiences and skills sets to the workforce.