Employment Barriers: Preparing Immigrant Women for the Canadian Workforce
( file size: 445k )
immigrant women, Canadian employment, employment barriers, website, preparation
In 2005, approximately 262, 000 immigrants came to Canada (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2006a); the Canadian government hopes that this number will continue to increase. Unfortunately, according to research, most immigrants are unable to find suitable employment in their intended fields (Statistics Canada, 2005). Researchers suggest that many immigrant women are surprised by the potential difficulties of finding successful employment in Canada and are disappointed when they realize that often their foreign credentials and work experience are not respected or recognized (Yip, 2005).
The idea for this project came about through my personal experiences as an employment counsellor for immigrant women. There was a noticeable gap between what these women had expected the Canadian employment market to be like and the realities of it. I was concerned about the women’s reactions to those realities and felt that improved pre-immigration information about working in Canada would help to better prepare them for a successful transition. I chose to focus on immigrant women for this project, as they seem to be presented with more barriers to successful Canadian employment, than men (Dion & Dion, 2001).
An extensive literature review revealed several barriers to successful employment for immigrant women. The key barriers include gender issues, racism/discrimination (Godin & Renaud, 2005; Status of Women Canada [SWC], 2004), poverty (Ryan 2004; Statistics Canada, 2005), stress of transition (Guindon & Smith, 2002), poor language skills, unrecognized credentials, lack of Canadian work experience (Lee & Westwood 1996; Yip, 2005), absence of social and professional networks (Yip, 2005), and lack of accurate information (ESPC, 2000).
Researchers suggest that there is a connection between preparedness and employment success (Vuori & Vinokur, 2005). Therefore, I decided to create a means in which to inform pre-immigrant women of the potential employment barriers once in Canada, while offering suggestions on how to overcome these barriers. According to Krumboltz’s planned happenstance theory, identifying and overcoming barriers does in fact result in successful career transitions (Neault, 2002). On account of the many benefits the Internet offers, such as accessibility and cost effectiveness, I chose to create a website. The final outcome of this Campus Alberta Applied Psychology (CAAP) project is an informative website for pre-immigrant women, to facilitate their successful integration into the Canadian workforce. In addition to information about barriers to employment in Canada, the website also provides additional information such as job board links, and ways to manage stress. The assumption of this project is that the information on this website will better prepare pre-immigrant women, resulting in a more successful career transition. With accurate information prior to immigration, immigrant women could ensure that their education is valid in Canada, begin to create a business network in Canada, start to research the job market, learn effective job search techniques, and evaluate how their particular skills fit into the Canadian job market.
Although this particular project was geared towards pre-immigrant women, most of the information on the website is general enough to benefit anyone who is looking for employment in Canada, and anyone helping someone to find employment in Canada. The website can be viewed at www.brianforrester.com/tammyroy/coming2canada.
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