Integrating new graduate and professional immigrants
Got a few questions relating to immigrants who graduate from our universities/colleges and would like to pursue their careers in New Brunswick. I’ll put forward a few thoughts on this.
If you think about it, networks matter – informal and formal – when it comes to professional employment. I left New Brunswick for six years to go to university and when I came back in 1991 it was brutal. The recruiter at NBTel told me outright they prefer people with degrees from local or Canadian universities. After a long search process, I ended up getting a job because a cousin knew someone and got me in to a job for a three month contract which started my eventual career.
Immigrants face potentially greater hurdles (remember I am talking about professionals that don’t have a job lined up – the front line service and manufacturing immigrant workers are brought in specifically for those jobs). They have virtually no networks and other resume issues.
The Greater Halifax Partnership used to have a formal immigrant networking program where leaders in the Halifax business community would agree to introduce a group of immigrants to at least five different other business leaders and facilitate a formal discussion. This was a deliberate process to create networks. This might be something we should formalize here in NB – although I know it goes on informally. Any new graduate or professional immigrant looking for a job would connect with the program and get at least five doors opened.
We should also do more immigrant internships. Ambitious young immigrant MBAs could work in a firm or organization with no strings just to get experience and as a trial run.
We should also look at linking up immigrant professionals with the startup/entrepreneurial crowd. Many could be interested in the startup environment and just need an intro into that world.
When New Brunswickers get their heads around the reality that several thousand immigrants per year is a likely outcome within a few short years, we should be putting the systems in place to make sure there is as much retention and integration into the workforce as possible.