Immigrant Employment Council of BC Report Calls for Greater Employer Involvement in Matching Workforce Needs to Leverage Immigrant Talent

IEC-BC  |  April 30, 2012

IEC-BC has released the results of an independent study that calls for greater employer involvement in matching workforce needs to leverage immigrant talent. The BC Employer Consultation Report: Recruiting & Retaining Immigrant Talent provides insight into BC employers’ engagement in, and their issues relating to the recruitment and retention of skilled immigrant talent. Download Full Report

IEC-BC Board Chair Bob Elton says "BC employers must have a stronger voice in the development of policies, programs and services that impact the attraction and retention of global talent".

Over 150 employers (many of them SME's) participated in fifteen focus groups throughout British Columbia across seven communities and eight industry sectors. Kerry Jothen, Project Leader and Chief Executive Officer of Human Capital Strategies, an established expert in strategic human capital planning says "The BC Employer Consultation Report represents the most recent comprehensive qualitative research initiative with BC employers that addresses this critical workforce development issue".

British Columbia is entering an era of unparalleled talent scarcity and increasing global competition for talent. Throughout the research BC employers indicated they understand the business case for employing immigrants, but for a number of reasons that became clear in the study, are having difficulty leveraging and maximizing this opportunity.

BC employers indicated they are challenged with the status quo in terms of support, policies, programs and services. Comments Cliff Yeo, Advisor, Human Resources, Safeway, “The confusing array of resources and information is seen as a deterrent that leaves employers uncertain where to turn for help. With over one million job openings expected in BC by 2020 and an aging workforce, British Columbia’s future economic growth depends on ensuring we have an adequate supply of skilled workers to meet the demand”.

IEC-BC is calling for greater employer involvement in matching their workforce needs with immigrant talent, and a stronger voice for employers in the development of policies, programs and services. The extensive BC Employer Consultation yielded clear insight into what employers in BC want and need in order to enhance their capacity to recruit, hire, retain and integrate immigrants into their workforces. Addressing BC employers need for public policies and programs that are enabling, accessible and flexible, will support significant economic and employment growth while giving immigrants the opportunity to fully utilize the skills and experience they bring to our Province.

Accordingly, the Report provides 30 recommendations organized by type of organization (federal and provincial governments, employers and business associations, and IEC-BC) and scope (including policy and program design, program and service delivery, information, communication and promotion, and employer capacity and support).

The recommendations and resulting implementation should be guided by seven principles for action that are relevant for all immigrant employment facilitators including government, employers, business groups and service providers.

  1. Move quickly beyond research and consultation to action.
  2. Ensure that employers play a leadership role in solutions and program development for workforce integration.
  3. Create clear outcomes and success metrics for pilot and demonstration projects.
  4. Leverage and build on existing labour market programs, services and initiatives.
  5. Concentrate scarce available resources on a small number of priority solution areas.
  6. Align immigrant employment initiatives with other workforce strategies.
  7. Facilitate improved coordination of the system to overcome employer confusion.

BC Employer Consultation Report - Quick Facts

The scope of the BC Employer Consultation independent research project included:

  • Over 150 employers throughout all regions of BC, with a particular emphasis on small and medium-sized enterprises
  • Eight key sectors of the BC economy: Construction, Manufacturing, Mining, Oil and Gas, Retail, Technology, Tourism, and Trucking
  • Seven communities: Comox Valley, Cranbrook, Fort St. John, Kelowna, Prince George, Surrey and Vancouver

Download Full Report