Recently I have volunteered as a career coach in a program to help integrate internationally trained professionals. Just like most of our forefathers, these professionals have picked up and left their country of origin to make a better life for themselves and their families here in Canada. That move itself is an incredible leap of faith. When I met with this group of professionals I was struck by the motivation and desire they had to succeed in their adopted country. Many had taken a step down in terms of temporary employment in hope of advancing later. All are well-educated and have come from school systems that are highly competitive and more oriented towards performance than building self-esteem. They were not asking for much, other than a chance to prove themselves in a Canadian context. As a group these are courageous, well-educated, and motivated people.
It will not be an easy transition for many of them and there are challenges with language and work customs in Canada. A job search in this country certainly has significant nuances that are impossible for internationally educated professionals to understand. Many Canadians struggle in job searches, so imagine how difficult it is for foreign trained professionals. Combined with a lack of familial, professional, or social networks that often yields employment opportunities, the challenges are substantial.
And yet we are a nation of immigrants. Our birthrate is low and we are not replacing ourselves. Many jobs, particularly in the technology environment go unfilled due to lack of qualified candidates. We are going to become dependent on internationally educated professionals and the better we integrate them the better off we are all going to be. There will be hurdles, hiccups and bumps in the road but employers have the opportunity to hire smart, well-educated, highly motivated employees. In turn this will keep our companies moving ahead, and our economy vibrant. We cannot afford to fail in their integration into the workforce.
About the Author
Robert Hebert is the founder and Managing Partner of StoneWood Group Inc., a leading executive search firm in Canada. Since 1981, he has helped firms across a wide range of sectors address their senior recruiting, assessment and leadership development requirements.