Any employer is concerned about finding that right “fit” – a worker who will have the right skills, as well as that energy, spirit and attitude that contributes to their unique workplace culture. With Canadians rapidly aging out of the workforce, businesses now have to be creative and intentional when looking for talent.
Immigrants, who bring diverse perspectives and international connections, are one of the attractive talent pools employers can tap into. There are, however, challenges that employers might face when connecting to global talent. How can they navigate foreign qualifications and expertise, and how do they make sure they connect with someone who really contributes to the success of their business? What they need is an easier way to find and understand immigrant talent, and that’s where BC JobConnect comes in.
This free online tool captures newcomers’ education, work experience and language proficiency, and has almost 600 candidates with a wide range of education levels and skills – from high school diplomas to PhDs, in such industries as IT, engineering, finance, manufacturing and life sciences.
It is part of the suite of tools and resources offered by the Immigrant Employment Council of British Columbia (IEC-BC) - a non-profit organization that helps employers take full advantage of newcomers’ skills, knowledge and experience to advance BC’s economy.
BC JobConnect’s importance is increasing in the light of the data released in the most recent BC’s Labour Market Outlook. With over 900,000 new job openings projected through 2027, and a low unemployment rate, provincial employers, especially those in Metro Vancouver, struggle to fill their staffing needs, says IEC-BC CEO Patrick MacKenzie. BC JobConnect “demystifies the hiring of immigrants for an employer,” says MacKenzie. “It gets to the heart of what an immigrant can do and what they bring to the workplace.”
The tool was initially started in February 2017 to help employers identify refugees from Syria and other countries, whose varied skills could be used in various economic sectors. Last summer it was expanded to include all permanent residents. “People bring skills, they bring experience, no matter how they’ve arrived here,” MacKenzie says.
BC JobConnect has already facilitated the successful hiring of 26 immigrants – from small and medium-sized to large organizations. In some cases, says MacKenzie, pointing to the global firm EY (Ernst & Young) as an example, employers have hired multiple individuals in professional roles through the tool.
BC JobConnect isn’t simply a job board, says MacKenzie. Its uniqueness lies with how it presents potential employees’ inventory of skills. This really puts employers in the driver seat and allows them to determine how they can “take the best skills available and plug them into the workplace.” For example, says MacKenzie, a carpenter or automotive technician may not have all the competencies needed to work in these jobs in BC. Still, “they may have skills that can be applied in different ways so that they are making a meaningful contribution.”
Since its creation, BC JobConnect has expanded beyond the Lower Mainland – most recently into the Okanagan and Vancouver Island. “Am I happy with this? Yes. Would I like to see it grow further? Absolutely, and I believe it will,” MacKenzie says.
In the near future, BC JobConnect will only increase in importance in the BC economy, says MacKenzie. “It works. We see success.”