8 min read
05 January 2024

How hiring newcomers provides Canadian businesses with a competitive edge

Celine Hong, Outreach Coordinator, Workforce Development

Businesses and organizations must have fresh talent and perspectives to stay competitive in today's economy. What is one easy way to do that? Hiring newcomers. Companies searching for new talent with new ideas can find both those things in one group: newcomers to Canada. WoodGreen makes it easy for newcomers and employers to connect, simplifying a common challenge for Canadian businesses.

Seeing newcomers as untapped potential involves recognizing their unique skills, experiences, and cultural insights. Those factors can enrich a company’s workforce and offer newcomers an opportunity to fully embrace their potential as professionals.

We spoke to Leonard Luk and Hasita Shah from WoodGreen’s Workforce Development Team to discuss the contributions newcomers bring to the Canadian workforce. Luk coordinates the Diverse Workforce Advantage Program (DWAP), and Shah serves as an intake and settlement counsellor for WoodGreen’s Personalized Career Accelerator (PCA) Program.

Newcomers can strengthen your workforce

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Newcomers to Canada bring extensive education, training, and transferable skills beneficial for various organizations.

"Many newcomers we work with have problem-solving, communication, leadership, and project management skills that greatly benefit their organizations," says Luk.

For example, according to Newcomers Canada, newcomers can assist organizations looking to expand into new markets by offering local expertise if the expansion is in their country of origin. Newcomers can also introduce valuable local contacts, which can result in significant time and cost savings.

Diverse hires bring new and diverse perspectives


“By hiring people from different backgrounds and places, you’re enriching your organization,” says Shah.

“These are the people who can think outside of the box. They can introduce fresh perspectives and innovative solutions to address long-standing gaps or unresolved issues within an organization.”

Stock image featuring employees in a meeting room.

Luk and Shah aid many skilled newcomers annually, helping in job searches and connecting them with mentors who share similar experiences. They note that many possess strong language skills, often speaking multiple languages, providing an advantage for employers.

This expands connections with different markets and establishes valuable partnerships beyond the usual networks.

Being New to Canada doesn’t always mean being new to a career


To gain a competitive edge, Shah highlights the importance for companies to ask: "How can we incorporate global perspectives into our workplace?"

Having closely worked with professional newcomers to Canada, Shah observes that too few employers consider this aspect before recruiting. This is evident when employers actively seek candidates with Canadian experience, unintentionally excluding a large, experienced, and creative pool of newcomer talent.

“Clients often face the barrier of not having Canadian experience, even though it's not explicitly stated,” says Shah. “Not many places directly mention it, but newcomers feel employers are hesitant to hire individuals unfamiliar with Canadian experience.”

Staff helping client explain a document in the office.

Newcomers make critical career connections through WoodGreen


WoodGreen's Personalized Career Accelerator (PCA) Program was created to help newcomers with work experience overcome employment barriers in Canada. Newcomer professionals are paired with mentors who share similar experiences and typically work in the same field as the newcomer, ensuring they are well-prepared for a successful Canadian job search. This vital professional connection also enhances the marketability of their diverse backgrounds to employers.

According to Shah, the PCA program extends beyond helping newcomer professionals find jobs aligned with their skills and experience. She emphasizes that it offers participants a safety net and support system, contributing to the building of their confidence throughout their employment journey.


Fostering Diversity and Inclusion by Empowering Employers

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Leonard Luk, familiar with retaining newcomer talent, plays a vital role in furnishing employers with information, training, and best practices for hiring and retaining newcomer talent. He connects them with job-ready clients who meet their hiring needs.

According to Leonard, "One of the benefits that employers get from working with WoodGreen is that we organize diversity and inclusion workshops."

He collaborates with employers for enhanced diversity and inclusion practices through tailored skills training sessions, covering Cultural Diversity, Cross-Cultural Communication, Employer Expectations, Assessing and Interviewing Skilled Immigrant Professionals, and Retention Strategies.

Designing hiring to attract diversity


The Diverse Workforce Advantage Program (DWAP) empowers employers to reassess hiring practices for newcomer professionals, promoting social and economic impacts through diverse talents.

"We guide them in designing interviews and formulating questions that showcase cultural communication, enabling newcomers to succeed in the recruitment process despite coming from a distinct work culture."

The program emphasizes the significance of not limiting the candidate pool solely to those with Canadian experience when discussing diversity. By considering a broader spectrum, Canada welcomes immigrants with diverse skills and experiences, providing employers with a wider array of choices to fulfill their organization’s roles.

The practice of hiring newcomers proves to be a significant boon for Canadian businesses. Their diverse talents and perspectives not only enrich the workplace but also contribute to the success and adaptability of organizations. Embracing diversity isn't just a social responsibility; it's a strategic advantage positioning Canadian businesses for sustained growth and prosperity.

To learn more about our Personalized Career Accelerator Program, click here.

To learn more about our Diverse Workforce Advantage Program, click here.

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