Alternative Career Paths for Immigrants

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My company recently conducted a market research in the immigration space and the information we gathered was mind blowing. It’s no secret that Canada needs immigrants, but what was most surprising to me is that Canada needs 100 per cent of newcomers for labour shortage. This is why Canada is still aggressively pursuing immigration plans and even increased the numbers over the next three years (2022 – 2024) from about one million people to 1.3 million people. 

Despite the needs that Canada highlights, immigrants still struggle to get jobs, not just because of employers’ request for Canadian work experience but because immigrants are searching in the same small space as the rest of Canadians. Roles like administration, human resources, business management, retail banking, accounting and other non-technical roles can be performed by almost anyone, even high school graduates who have been working for a few years. How do I know this? I recently hired four university students through a government-funded program and the knowledge these second-year students possess is astonishing. Their research skills, problem solving skills, ability to take initiatives was above my expectations. You can only imagine the well-rounded skillsets and experience they would have developed by the time they graduate. New immigrants in non-technical fields would compete in the same space with not only Canadian professionals but also students or recent graduates who have had a head-start with years of Canadian work experience and education. This is not to say that immigrants do not have the skill to compete favourably, but Canadian have more going for them in an already saturated career path. 

Carpentry is among the skilled trades that immigrants can consider

Does this mean it’s all doom and gloom for immigrants? Absolutely not! There are career paths that are less interesting to Canadians that I believe new immigrants should pursue based on their skill sets; technical, skilled trades and tech positions. My agency offers a job placement service for people inside and outside Canada specifically in these roles. These are the roles Canadian companies need help to fill because Canadians are typically not interested in them. Examples of skilled trades are truck drivers, carpenters, chef, cook, and food service supervisors among others. High demand tech roles include scrum master, business analyst, and data analyst. Immigrants can get into some of these roles with some training with the right coach, and the best part is that you can use your previous experience as a building block so you don’t start afresh. 

I can confidently say this because I have watched immigrants successfully transition to these roles from another career within a short period since we started our job placement service. I have since begun challenging my friends and clients who are frustrated with their current job to consider using their education and transferable skills for good in these career paths. I recently referred a dear friend who worked in banking to a Scrum Coach. She had been feeling like a failure because she wanted more out of life. After her scrum training, she landed a high-paying remote job. She had no experience in scrum and that was not a barrier to entry for her because the demand for tech skills is high right now. If you have the skills to deliver, you will be hired. Employers are going abroad to fill these skill gaps, so you don’t need to worry about Canadian work experience.  

The opportunities in technical, tech or skilled trade roles are endless. These are great career paths that new immigrants should consider. And if you’ve been in Canada in another career that doesn’t give you satisfaction, you can transition with your transferable skills and knowledge. Don’t know where to start? Reach out to Shirah Immigration and we’ll work with you to find a coach and help you land your dream job. 

I can’t wait to see you thrive, and I am cheering you on, dear immigrant! 

Bukky Abaniwonda
Bukky Abaniwonda

Bukky Abaniwonda transitioned her career from finance to immigration sector. She is the Principal Immigration Consultant at Shirah Migration, which has helped over 1000 candidates with a data-driven, supportive process at various stages of their migration. Connect with Bukky at enquiries@shirahconsults.com  

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