Canadian employers missing the potential for innovation and growth from immigrants: Deloitte
Toronto, Canada – November 1, 2011 — According to a new white paper by Deloitte, Welcome to Canada. Now what? Unlocking the potential of immigrants for business growth and innovation, many Canadian employers are finding it easy to put diversity and inclusiveness into a mission statement, but difficult to put them into practice. In its second cross-country study of diversity practices called “Dialogue on diversity,” Deloitte learned that the dreams of educated newcomers – people vital to our economic growth – are being eroded by unrecognized credentials, no Canadian experience, a lack of support for networking, and lingering biases in recruitment.
As one participant said, “Canada does have one of the best immigration processes globally – but there is a broken promise because we tell people that their skill-set is going to be recognized, and then they can’t get a job and they end up driving taxis.” Often, this is because organizations are clinging to outdated notions. For example, half of the respondents to a Public Policy Forum survey said that Canadian work experience is either a requirement for employment in their organization, or that foreign work experience is not necessarily considered equal to Canadian experience.
The lack of “fit” or acceptance was another issue raised by the white paper, which strongly suggests that companies have much to gain by broadening their thinking. “Only by taking calculated risks and being open to learning from the experiences of immigrants will Canadian companies fully capitalize on the potential for innovation and growth that comes with their hiring,” says Deloitte’s Chief Diversity Officer, partner Jane Allen.
The findings in the paper echo earlier Deloitte studies on productivity and tax policy. In the Future of productivity, facilitating the immigration of skilled workers is cited as key to improving our competitiveness. Competing for global talent notes that these individuals will also enhance government tax revenues.
The white paper argues that it’s time to put the theory of diversity into action: more proactive steps must be taken to quickly enable skilled foreign-born workers to contribute to Canada’s economy and achieve their own dreams. Various provinces offer programs through community organizations and government ministries – these and other initiatives provide a solid base of best practices for employers across Canada. The annual Dialogue on diversity study conducted by Deloitte serves to highlight both opportunity and progress in this critically important area.
Deloitte, one of Canada's leading professional services firms, provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services through more than 7,600 people in 57 offices. Deloitte operates in Québec as Samson Bélair/Deloitte & Touche s.e.n.c.r.l. Deloitte & Touche LLP, an Ontario Limited Liability Partnership, is the Canadian member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see www.deloitte.com/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.